Native Plants for Birds

Native birds co-evolved and depend on native plants for their survival. Here are some useful sources for learning about native plants: each website provides a piece of essential content for plant field identification, selecting by habitat requirements native plants for your garden, porch or neighborhood, and where native plants might be purchased or obtained.

Note:

  1. Avoid neonicotinoids, a pesticide lethal to bees and other pollinators! Some nurseries continue to use this deadly chemical, instead of relying on safe solutions to controlling insects. Ask the nursery if it uses this chemical. Holes in leaves are often but not always made by caterpillars needed for adult and baby bird consumption.
  2. Every plant counts! Though many nesting birds require contiguous forest, and not everyone has a yard, a pot of native plants on your windowsill or porch – accessible to the outside! – can help pollinators survive and thrive. Grow straight native, not cultivar, plants. Insects know the difference, and if they can’t grow on or eat it, efforts are literally fruitless.
  3. Do not collect native plants from the wild! Many native nurseries will happily ship straight-species plants to you. New England is fortunate to have many small-scale native plant growers and nurseries, listed on line or by word of mouth. Please share your resources with us!

Here is an annotated list of resources to get started. Many city town garden clubs maintain a website, resources, and annual plant sales. Choose straight native over cultivar or non-native specimens. Please let the club know of any resources you’ve found helpful. Thanks!

National Audubon Society provides an overview of native plants, and a list of resources by zip code. A useful place to begin.

https://www.audubon.org/native-plants

Massachusetts Audubon Society lists information about native plants by sanctuary.

Need help identifying and managing/eradicating invasive plants?

https://www.massaudubon.org/learn/nature-wildlife/invasive-plants

Here is their blog about native plants:

https://blogs.massaudubon.org/yourgreatoutdoors/we-heart-native-plants/

The USDA provides helpful information and fact sheets on native and invasive plants through its Natural Resources Conservation Service