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Gardening for Birds | Food

Native Plants

Most native plants will be better adapted to your garden site than others, and don’t need fertilizer or much irrigation once they get established. Plant many species of trees, shrubs and flowers, and plant single-species clusters to help with foraging efficiency.

  • Include plants with seeds and berries
  • Include flowers with nectar and pollen
  • Include an array of leaf types

Some great native plant choices:

  • Big-leaf Maple
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Blue Blossom
  • Douglas Aster
  • Douglas Spirea
  • Hookedspur Violet
  • Oregon Grape
  • Oregon White Oak
  • Red Flowering Currant
  • Salal
  • Showy Milkweed
  • Snowberry
  • Vine Maple
  • Yarrow



Minimize pesticide use in bird-friendly landscaping to give birds the opportunity to feed on grubs, ants, aphids, gnats, and all types of flying insects.

Native plants have evolved alongside our native birds and insects. They support greater insect diversity than non-native species. host many caterpillar species that are a vital source of protein for birds, especially during the breeding season.

Provide for insects to provide for birds!

  • Native trees such as oaks, willows, birches, and maples
  • Native herbaceous plants such as goldenrod, milkweed, and sunflowers



Nourishment for wildlife should come primarily from natural food sources such as native plants. Feeders should only be supplied to complement birds’ natural diets. Clean feeders regularly and watch for mold. Seed preferences vary. Incorporate a variety of bird feeders to meet the dietary needs of different bird species.

The most popular supplemental foods are:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Millet
  • Nyjer
  • Peanuts
  • Suet
  • Mealworms
  • Safflower seeds
  • Mixed weed-free seed
  • Nectar
  • Jelly
  • Peanut butter
  • Cracked corn