List of Plants for Birds

I recently put together a Powerpoint presentation to give to garden clubs around the area.  It contains many different types of trees, shrubs, flowers, and bird feeding ideas for you to utilize in your garden.  If you would like to download this presentation just click this link, or if you would like to view it online in Google Docs,  click this link.

This list is by no means exhaustive; it is a list of plants that are native to Kentucky that offer food, shelter, or nesting sites for birds.  Several of the plants can be found at Shooting Star Nursery in Georgetown, KY.  If you have any other plants you have tried in your garden that birds love, feel free to email me at

Large Trees

Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)
White Oak (Quercus alba)
Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)
Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica)
Post Oak (Quercus stellata)
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra)
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Common Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Sugar Hackberry (Celtis laevigata)
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandifolia)
American Holly (Ilex opaca)
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Small Trees

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Malus spp. (Crabapple)
Crateagus spp. (Hawthorns)
Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)
Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)
Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginana)
Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
American Plum (Prunus americana)
Haw Possum (Ilex decidua)
Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)


Silverberry (Elaeagnus spp.)
American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Bramble (Rubus spp.)
Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
American Elder (Sambucus canadensis)
Common Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Pasture Rose (Rosa carolina)
Viburnum spp.
Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)
Common Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Christmas Berry (Lycium carolinianum)

Flowers and Vines

Aster spp.
Liatris spp. (Blazing Stars)
Illinois Bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoensis)
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)
White Prairie Clover (Dalea candida)
Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis)
Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)
Coneflower spp.
Coreopsis spp.
Goldenrod spp.
Milkvetch spp. (Astragalus spp.)
Sunflower spp. (especially Common Sunflower)
Rudebeckia spp.
Vitis spp. (Grapes)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Common Greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia)

Hummingbird Plants

Mexican Sage (Salvia mexicana)
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)
Autumn Sage 'Cherry' (Salvia greggii)
Black and Blue Salvia
Cherry Chief Salvia
Argentina Skies Salvia
Bee Balm spp. (Monarda)
Cape Fuchsia 'Red' (Phygelius spp.)
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis )
Dicliptera suberecta

Goldflame Honeysuckle
Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Indigo Spires
Lantana spp.
Cigar Plant (Cuphea micropetala)
Coral Bells spp. (Heuchera spp.)
Shrimp Plant
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
Crocosmia lucifer
Nicotiana glauca
Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
Penstemon barbatus
Hairy Beardtounge (Penstemon hirsutus)
Liatris spp. (Blazing Stars)
Lobelia spp.
Milkweed spp.
Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

This list of plants that are enjoyed by hummingbirds was generously provided by Russ Thompson and were taken from his website  Be sure to check out his site to see some really great pictures and videos of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eating from the plants listed above.  Thanks Russ!

Kress, Stephen W. The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds: Creating Natural Habitats for Properties Large and Small. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2006. Print.

Roth, Sally. Natural Landscaping: Gardening with Nature to Create a Backyard Paradise. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 1997. Print.

Terres, John K. Songbirds in Your Garden. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin of Chapel Hill, 1994. Print.


Jean said...

Ryan, Your list is very, very good! The only additions I could possibly suggest are American Holly for food (Cedar Waxwings and American Robins LOVE this berry after a few freezes in winter)and Red Maple for nesting.

Thanks for letting me know about this site. I will add a connecting link on my Blog in order to help others who wish to garden for wildlife and birds!

Ryan Ankeny said...

Thanks Jean. I can't believe I left off American Holly. That is usually the first tree I recommend!

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