Plants for attracting birds
Browse our selection of the best plants for attracting birds into your garden. Seeing birds playing and eating outside your front window is a delight, capturing the essence of sub-urban and country living. Whilst keeping a bird feeder or bird table well stocked certainly helps, a planting scheme that provides a variety of food for birds and opportunities for them to nest and take shelter are important too. Berrying shrubs and trees provide a delicious, natural food source for birds while shelter is essential for smaller birds to feel safe from cats, larger birds of prey and other predators. In fact, studies show that positioning a bird table or feeder close to areas of shelter has a significant impact on how frequently birds visit the feeder and how long they stay at each visit. Choosing plant varieties that provide food for birds in autumn and winter is particularly important, as temperatures start to drop and food becomes more scarce. Some of the best plants for birds are pyracantha, ivy, holly, honeysuckle, sorbus trees, cotoneaster and beach rose.
Pyracantha are thorny evergreen shrubs with creamy-white June flowers and red, orange or yellow autumn berries, perfect for training on a wall or fence. Their thorny stems provide effective shelter, the berries are a delicious feast for birds and the angle of their branches is well suited for nesting thrushes and blackbirds. Birds appreciate the black winter berries of ivy and its evergreen leaves provide valuable coverage for nesting sites, particularly for tree sparrows, which have been waning in numbers recently. Similarly, the lush red berries of holly provide food for blackbirds, redwings and fieldfares in late autumn and winter – just remember that female holly plants must be grown with a male nearby to ensure berry production. Honeysuckle is a climber that’s perfect for attracting birds into smaller gardens where ground space is at a premium. Honeysuckle produces beautiful, long, scented flowers in the summer that are well-loved by insects, in turn providing food for small birds, and provide berries and shelter for birds such as bullfinches, warblers and thrushes in the autumn.