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Early Spring Plants for Migrating Birds
May 03

Early Spring Plants for Migrating Birds

By Juliette Olshock

Spring is the time of year when many of us get outside and become more active. It is also the time when many migrating birds make their way home. Trees and shrubs can be very important to these migrating birds as they move back north after living further south through the winter. Here is a short list of plants that support spring migrating birds by providing seeds, fruit, cover and nesting sites: 

  • common and Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea, Amelanchier laevis)
  • cornelian cherry dogwood, gray dogwood (Cornus mas, Cornus racemosa)
  • eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Corcorcor’ EMERALD SENTINEL)
  • bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)
  • staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger' TIGER EYES)
  • Judd viburnum (Viburnum × juddii)
  • winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite')

Learn more about recommended plants for birds with this list from Cornell that includes many common plants that do well locally. Many of these plants are also featured as sustainable plants on Phipps Sustainable Plant Finder. For information on creating a bird garden visit here.  

Birds fly at night to reduce the risk of predation so you may not see all of the birds in flight but you should notice different birds at your feeders. Early May is the time of year when Orioles visit my yard on their way further north. Here are recommended sites where you can see larger birds such as falcon and hawks:

Look for birds locally by visiting The Audubon Society of Western Pa. There you can walk Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve's trails on your own or by joining a guided bird walk offered each Wednesday morning at 9am, year round. Learn more here. Also visit their Native Plant Center to purchase native plants that feed our birds. 

Select photos © Vanessa Richins, Wouter Hagens, Laurel Voran, Nano Maus, Joel Perkovich