Bird-Friendly Native Plants

Black-capped chickadee on snowy branch

Black-capped Chickadee


Birds need food, water, shelter, nesting sites and roosting sites.  Using native plants to provide bird habitat requires considering what birds need and selecting plants that appeal to both you and the birds. Even small gardens can provide birds with food and shelter.



  • provide plants that attract insects for birds especially during the breeding season
  • use plants that offer birds food all season long
  • provide habitat for winter as well as summer – birds have different needs at different times of the year
  • plant brightly colored, tubular flowers to provide food for hummingbirds
  • create dense thickets (at least 8 feet thick) for shelter and nesting sites
  • create layers of vegetation – low for ground nesters, shrubs for small birds and trees for birds that roost and nest in them
  • use a diverse palette of plants to appeal to many birds
  • provide clean water – usually in a protected spot so birds feel safe
  • avoid pesticides (that kill birds) and letting the birds do the job for you
medium sized bird with scarlet head, yellow breast and black wings on limb of pine tree

Western Tanager


Look around you and identify the birds that are present in your yard or neighborhood. Research what habitats these birds prefer and add plants or features to your landscape that will appeal to them. To attract a broader diversity of birds, use a diverse palette of native plants arranged in plant communities that are appropriate for birds.

bird-friendly plants available in 2016:

baby robins in nest with yellow mouths open wide

baby robins

black hawthorn (Cratageus douglasii)
blue elderberry (Sambucus cerulea)
common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
grey alder (Alnus incana)
golden currant (Ribes aureum)
mockorange (Philadelphus lewisii)
red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)
rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa)
sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)
serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
wax currant (Ribes cereum)
Woods’ rose (Rosa woodsii)

mountain bluebird on fence post

Mountain Bluebird


arnica (Arnica species) 
arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)
asters (Aster species)
black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata)
columbine (Aquilegia species)
creeping Oregon grape (Mahonia repens)
fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

Sparrow sitting on wire fence

White-crowned Sparrow

fleabane (Erigeron species)
goldenrod species (Solidago species)
penstemons (Penstemon species)
purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)
scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata)
sunflowers (Helianthus species)
thimbleberry (Rubus species)
western white clematis (Clematis ligusticifolia)
wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)
Oregon Sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)
yucca (Yucca glauca)

Sparrow facing front among grasses

Lincoln’s Sparrow


bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata)
Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis)

Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis)


ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)
quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)