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Plants for the Prairies and Plains that Attract Birds


The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher can be found throughout much of the United States but moves to the southern part of its range in the winter. It feeds on insects.

This region ranges from the Canadian border to Texas and encompasses zones 3 through 9. The extreme cold in winter and heat in summer require plenty of cover for the birds. Those who live in the northern part of this area should plant a windbreak on the north and west sides of their property to provide shelter from the prevailing winds, which can be severe.


Rough-leaved Dogwood (Cornus drummondi)
Thicket-forming to 20′, excellent for windbreak. Many species attracted to its white berries and insects. Good cover and nesting sites.

Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)
Early white flowers, fall foliage, and abundant early summer berries.

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginia)
Excellent windbreak. The most widespread conifer in eastern North America, it also works very well in this region, and many nurseries have locally adapted stock. Offers food, cover, and nest sites, as well as insects for the birds.



Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginia)
Deciduous, with white flowers in spring followed by purple-red berries that provide food for over 40 species of birds. Tolerates a wide variety of soils.

Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)
Dense, bushy, deciduous shrub with pink or white flowers that bloom in late summer into fall that attract hummingbirds. Deep red to purple berries appear in fall and last through winter. Hardy and tolerant of diverse soil conditions.

Wild Plum/American Plum (Prunus americana)
Fast-growing, thicket-forming, and very attractive, with white flower clusters in the spring and red fruits from summer until fall. In addition to attracting insects for the birds, it also offers cover, and is occasionally used as a nesting site.


Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
A favorite of hummingbirds, this native, deciduous vine offers dense foliage for cover.

Wild Grapes (Vitus species)
Adaptable and vigorous, these vines form dense thickets that provide good nest sites as well as abundant food, some of which will last into winter.

Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
Evergreen and low-growing shrub with prickly needles that offer excellent cover and nesting sites for ground-nesting birds as well as food. Resistant to deer, rabbits and mice.


Tall Gayfeather (Liatris pycnostachya)
Offers seeds for the birds and nectar for butterflies.

Adam’s Needle (Yucca filamentosa)
Seeds for the birds and nectar for hummingbirds.

Additional resources

USDA Plant Database.

Aggie Horticulture Texas A&M University.

About the Author

Howard Garrett

Howard is one of the countries leading proponents of organic gardening. His radio show is heard on over 200 stations across the United States. We are pleased to have his guidance and tips on safe, successful organic gardening and yard care.

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