Most shrubs and trees produce fruit that ripen in late fall and winter. When other plants are bare, berry-producing plants help feed the birds while adding beauty to your home.
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a holly that loses its leaves in the fall but produces a brilliant red berry that will light up the landscaping and delight the birds. Native to the eastern U.S., Winterberry attracts various birds, including cedar waxwings, scrub jays, robins— even ducks and wild turkeys.
Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) produces waxy gray berries that make terrific food for smaller birds who shiver through the night as a way to keep warm, which requires a lot of energy. Mostly found in the eastern states, Bayberry attracts chickadees, woodpeckers, swallows, bluebirds, warblers, and many others. Northern Bayberry is also what the early-American settlers used to make candles. Its fruit has the highest fat content of all berries. It’s no wonder the birds love it.
Southern Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) plants are quite the berry-producing machines. A hardy plant, viburnum, is a favorite for all kinds of birds, including cardinals, mockingbirds, bluejays, and catbirds. Whether for you or your feathered friends, you won’t go wrong with Southern Arrowwood.
Chokeberry (Aronia Arbutifolia) shrubs are native to the U.S. and Canada. They have great foliage and fruit that turns bright red in the winter. It got its name because they are very bitter to humans, but not birds. The Chokeberry is the shrub for your landscaping if you want to attract grouse, cedar waxwings, thrushes, northern flickers, and thrashers.
Crabapples (Malus spp) give us enjoyment in the spring with their pink or white flowers. Birds, however, enjoy their winter fruit when all other berries are gone. Crabapple is quite bitter, so it needs a good amount of freezing and thawing before it’s palatable to birds. Plant a crabapple in your yard if you want to draw in bluebirds, thrushes, cardinals, and grosbeaks.
The Dogwood family includes both trees and shrubs. Most are garden-worthy for their flowers, foliage, stem colors, and graceful forms. Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa) produces white berries that birds adore when the leaves fall, revealing the red stems. Birds that love the Gray Dogwood are bobwhites, woodpeckers, sapsuckers, cardinals, grosbeaks, and tanagers.
Brighten your yard with one of these berry-producing plants and help the birds survive the winter.
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