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Best backyard plants to attract birds

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  • Best backyard plants to attract birds

    Anyone have a good list?

    Something else I've always wanted to do, too: Turn a protected corner of the yard into a really lush, tropical-like landscape, with ferns and tropical looking native and hardy plants. (No annuals.)

    Build a tropical paradise in your backyard - Canadian Gardening
    Last edited by KC; 07-06-2016, 09:03 AM.

  • #2
    Do yourself a favour - spend a Saturday morning down at Wildbird General Store . You'll not only learn everything you want to know about how to attract birds, you'll find tons of cool stuff and meet some passionate people.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal


    • #3
      I've been there a few times (old location and new). Great place for feeders, bird houses and seed. However I'm more interested in plants at the moment. Are they knowledgable about landscaping?

      When I bought the house, the neighbourhoid was near 20-years old, yet near devoid of birds (and anything else nice). Now 20+ years later, I have a wide variety of decently sized trees and shrubs in the yard and am finally starting to see larger numbers of birds in the yard, however I want to fill-in a few places with plants that will attract more birds.

      Currently, we have one or more varieties of:
      A mugo,
      Horse chestnut,
      Silver maple,
      Russian Olive,
      Last edited by KC; 07-06-2016, 09:20 AM.


      • #4
        Any tree or shrub with berries will attract birds - mountain ash and saskatoon are two of the best. Sometimes it's a challenge for me to pick any of my saskatoons before the birds get them

        The big things birds like are:
        1. food - you can put out bird feeders all year round.
        2. cover - shrubs or trees where they can take refuge from predators.
        3. water - a bird bath will attract many birds, plus they're really fun to watch when they play in it.


        • #5
          Oh, and you can use the Plant Finder on the Millcreek Nursery and Salisbury Greenhouse websites - it has a tick box in the search for plants that attract wildlife and plant descriptions will tell you what kind of wildlife.


          • #6
            We have mountain ash next-door. Seems that the berries usually sit there most of the year and then a flock will swoop in and clean it off in minutes.

            Saskatoon are nice and apparently the berries are a "superfood".

            As an aside: Years ago I replaced a greenbelt/walkway tree outside my house with a mountain ash and it was there for a number of years and looking pretty good until someone sawed it off at the ground. Either the City or the bordering condo development.

            Also, back then the City staff would use weedeaters and ring the base of all the trees until they died. Lost quite a few walkway trees that way. I called on one fairly large pine and they said it was ok, then they continued to strip its bark off it until it died. Incredible loss of upfront capital investment but not many City employees think in business, capital and investment terms. (i.e. I've watched them plant nice large trees in renovating our playground, then not water them, and the next year they were all expensive dead sticks. Came in sawed them off and that's the last time they ever came around and planted trees.)

            Pretty hilarious thinking by the City. Like the old adage of digging ditches and filling them in again.
            Last edited by KC; 07-06-2016, 11:26 AM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by KC View Post
              Anyone have a good list?

              Something else I've always wanted to do, too: Turn a protected corner of the yard into a really lush, tropical-like landscape, with ferns and tropical looking native and hardy plants. (No annuals.)
              Ostrich ferns are native to this area of Alberta and will grow 3-4' tall in a shady part of your garden.

              Birds like anything with berries, seeds. Chickadees live off birch seeds in the winter, but you can always put up a bird feeder with black oil sunflower seeds. Fruit eating birds will love your Mountain Ash, as well as Saskatoons, rose hips, cranberries, gooseberries, cherries, etc.


              • #8
                Yes, I have a whole bed of ferns. Love them. (At the cabin have a couple approx. 1 acre fern beds as well, though one is now underwater due to a beaver dam. )

                Once tried blueberries and grapes and both failed due to poor locations. Will try them again someday. Just cut out the 'kiwi' vine the other year as it was too aggressive.

                Have a couple rose bushes. Didn't know birds liked them. One is a Georges Bugnet hybrid. (Some of the cherries are Evans Cherries that were near impossible to find in the early 1990s.)

                Hazelnut might be an option. They grow wild all over the lake property. Have a couple acres of Saskatoon bushes too. Looking for more ornamental shrubs for the city though.

                When I was a kid growing up in central Alberta, I was pretty sure that all good fruit came out of B.C. True, I we had raspberries and strawberries on the farm, but apples, plums, cherries, grapes and the like where all “exotic” fruit that simply didn’t grow in Alberta. How mistaken I was! Or at least, how things have changed! I never would have thought that I could be growing plums, grapes and kiwis just outside of Red Deer, Alberta. But it’s true. There is a whole world of hardy fruit plants that can survive and even thrive on the northern prairies.



                Last edited by KC; 07-06-2016, 12:18 PM.


                • #9
                  So, we have 5 highbush cranberries planted on our front lawn. I'd like to rip them out. Leaves and berries look great but they are a weedy kind of bush with ranches that grow in all directions and the birds never clean off the berries. Finally went on line about the berries and several sites said that birds won't eat the berries unless desperate.


                  • #10
                    So what berries will birds eat? You've already done some homework to know what they won't.

                    In gardens I've had birds always liked a birdbath with a clear view all around. My folks had an ornamental crabapple with small apples that were unfit for people but birds liked them.

                    Unfortunately anything that birds will eat they won't eat completely and you'll get to deal with the remainders.
                    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...


                    • #11
                      ^Birds like all sorts of berries. Saskatoons, gooseberries, currents, mountain ash, etc.

                      Also, many birds only eat seeds. Black Cap Chickadees eat birch seeds in the winter for instance.

                      FYI don't bother planting blueberries unless you have acidic soil (ie. boreal forest). No amount of amendments will make the soil acidic enough for them to grow.


                      • #12
                        A few bird feeders hanging around helps as well.
                        Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.


                        • #13
                          My cherry trees and backyard fountain attract lots of birds.


                          • #14
                            Annual reminder that if you want help attracting birds, head on down to Wildbird General Store. They're the experts, everyone there is over-the-top nice, and the store is pretty cool. They have piles of guests, workshops, etc, just check out the events page.
                            "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal


                            • #15
                              Bird populations in steep decline in North America, study finds - The Globe and Mail

                              Dozens of species lost more than 50 per cent of their populations between 1970 and 2014, from the obscure the familiar. Snowy owl populations, for example, fell 64 per cent in that time.


                              The Best Trees, Vines, and Shrubs to Plant for Birds: a Starter List | All About Birds