Resources for Planting and Gardening for Birds and Insects

When we think of helping birds, tube feeders, sunflower seeds, hummingbird nectar, and bird baths might come to mind. But the most substantial help humans can provide for wild birds is natural habitat that safely feeds and shelters birds. Some trees and shrubs can provide sustenance for early emerging insect larvae, also known as baby food for songbirds. A clutch of chickadees can consume 9,000 insects between hatching and fledging, for example. But which plants provide the most help for birds in your region, taking into account the elevation, rainfall, and soil type? Trees Forever, an Iowa-based group, has produced a list of trees and shrubs native to the Midwest that benefit pollinators, available for download here »

The Xerces Society offers planting guides for ten regions of the United States and Canada—plants that benefit insects, which feed birds. Learn more on their website »

The National Audubon Society offers a native plants database in which users enter their zip code and end up with a long list of native plants that benefit birds and insects and will grow well in their area. The list can then be filtered by type of plant (tree, vine, flower), goal (nuts, pollen, nectar), and even the type of bird you wish to attract. Not only are native plants good for birds and the insects birds feed on, they require less maintenance than exotic plants; they need less water; and they don’t require synthetic fertilizer or pesticides. Find their native plants database here »

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