Trees that Attract Birds

If you are looking for trees that attract birds, then you are 

in the right place. Trees are good for more than just hanging bird feeders. They can actually attract birds.

One of our readers sent us this video. It's amazing the variety of birds that visit her Mountain Ash tree.

Trees require more planning and, in general, are more expensive than other plants used in your landscape. You should always plan for the mature size of a tree before you plant it. Consider carefully if it is too close to your house, your neighbor's house, a fence line, power lines, etc.

Tufted Titmouse

Remember that since a tree creates shade, your choices may be limited when planting flowers or grass beneath it. With some planning, adding the right trees will enhance the beauty of your property and attract many wild birds all year around.

While all trees will provide shelter and nesting sites for birds, only certain trees actually attract them.

Why are wild birds attracted trees? For food and shelter.

Trees that attract wild birds produce food in the form of fruit, seeds, sap and nectar. Using a variety of trees that attract birds can make food available to wild birds all year around.

Here is a list of my favorite landscaping trees that attract birds. Any one of these trees will be a perfect addition to your bird garden. There are many resources for planting and caring for trees. For more information check your local garden club, home center or nursery.


Conifers are evergreen trees and shrubs that include pines, spruces, firs, arborvitae, junipers, cedars, and yews. These plants are important as escape cover, winter shelter, and summer nesting sites. Some also provide sap, buds, and seeds.

Nut and Acorn Plants

These include oaks, hickories, buckeyes, chestnuts, butternuts, walnuts, and hazels. The meats of broken nuts and acorns are eaten by a variety of birds. These plants also provide good nesting habitats.

Summer-Fruiting Plants

This category includes plants that produce fruits or berries from May through August. Among birds that can be attracted in the summer are brown thrashers, catbirds, robins, thrushes, waxwings, woodpeckers, orioles, cardinals, towhees, and grosbeaks. Examples of summer-fruiting plants are various species of cherry, chokecherry, honeysuckle, raspberry, service berry, blackberry, blueberry, grape, mulberry, plum, and elderberry.

Fall-Fruiting Plants

This landscape component includes shrubs and vines whose fruits are ripe in the fall. These foods are important both for migratory birds which build up fat reserves prior to migration and as a food source for non-migratory species that need to enter the winter season in good physical condition. Fall-fruiting plants include dogwoods, mountain ash, winter berries, cotoneasters, and buffalo berries. These are trees that attract birds in the fall.

Winter-Fruiting Plants

Winter-fruiting plants are those whose fruits remain attached to the plants long after they first become ripe in the fall. Many are not palatable until they have frozen and thawed numerous times. Examples are glossy black chokecherry, Siberian and "red splendor" crabapple, snowberry, bittersweet, sumacs, American high bush cranberry, eastern and European Wahoo, Virginia creeper, and Chinaberry.

Landscaping to attract wild birds into your yard requires some planning. Whether you are adding a flower garden or trees that attract birds, your reward will be the satisfaction of knowing that you have created a window into nature in your own backyard.

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Crabapple (Malus):

Crabapple Tree

These are trees that attract birds, lots of birds. Many of us plant crabapple trees for their beautiful floral display in early spring. The fruit produced from the flowers are a winter food source for many wild birds living around you. The fruit starts out hard, but after freezing and thawing a few times, it becomes easy for birds to consume. Average size: 15 to 25 feet. Requires full sun. Zones 4 - 8.

Dogwood (Cornus):


Dogwoods are useful in many landscaping situations. My favorite is the Cornus kousa "summer stars". The beautiful white flowers will stay on the tree for up to six weeks. The small red berries, produced by the flowers, are food for wild birds in late fall and early winter. Average size: 20 to 30 feet. Will grow in partial to full sun. Zones 5 - 8.


The crabapple and dogwood are trees that attract birds. The Viburnum is a shrub that attracts birds. The fruit on Viburnum varies in color from yellow to pink to red to blue, with many aging to black. Selecting multiple viburnums will provide a progression of berries, making fruit available to wild birds throughout the summer, fall and winter. For example, in zone 5 the fruit of Viburnum plicatum Shasta is on display in June, while on Viburnum dilatatum CARDINAL CANDY the fruit is on display in January. Average size: 2 to 30 feet. Will grow in partial to full sun. Zones 2 - 9.

Serviceberry (Amelanchier):


Serviceberries are large, multi-stemmed shrubs or small trees that attract birds. Ornamental characteristics include white flowers in spring and colorful fall foliage. The foliage in the fall varies from yellow to orange to red. Serviceberries also produce small, berry-like fruit that ripen in June. Birds love the fruit, devouring them as quickly as they ripen. The ripe fruit are also edible for people. They are excellent in pies and muffins. Average size: 10 to 25 feet. Will grow in partial to full sun. Zones 4 - 7.

Winterberry or Holly (Ilex):


Winterberry's bright red fruit is a beautiful sight in fall. Male and female flowers are produced on separate plants. The small, inconspicuous flowers are produced in spring. The round, 1/4- to 1/2-inch-wide fruit on female plants turns bright red in early autumn. Hungry birds usually devour most of the fruit by early winter. Two female varieties noted for their heavy fruit displays are 'Sparkleberry' and 'Winter Red.' You will need at least one male variety, such as 'Southern Gentleman,' for pollination and fruit set. Winterberry prefers moist, acidic soils. Average size: 6 to 10 feet. Will grow in partial to full sun. Zones 4-7.

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