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    Attracting Birds with Natives

    A list of plants that naturally attract California Birds to your garden.

    Bird Gardening does not have to be that different than normal landscaping, it just requires more thought. Try to stay with natives from your plant community or nearby communities, put the wetland plants next to the bird bath, and the dryland plants in the sunny parts of the yard, enjoy the birds and the garden!

    For Bluebird info see Bluebirds or Western Bluebirds. Or try searching our site for the bird you're looking for.

    Speak with a garden professional to find out which varieties are well suited for your area and which are more drought tolerant.

    California Native plants that can attract bird life into your garden.

    California Native plants that can attract bird life into your garden.

    Genus/Species

    Common Name

    Part Used

    When Specific Birds Area? Cover?
    Acacia Greggii

    Catclaw

    birds eat seeds summer Mourning Dove in desert areas provides cover
    Abies concolor White Fir birds eat seeds fall Red Crossbill, Clark's Nutcracker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Blue Grouse Mountains, provides cover and roosting and nesting sites
    Acer macrophyllum Big Leaf Maple birds eat seeds, buds, birds work flowers spring through fall Evening Grosbeak, many other kinds of birds along creeks in drier areas, away from water in more northern sections of California
    Acer negundo var. californicum California Box Elder same as Big Leaf Maple same as Big Leaf Maple same as Big Leaf Maple grows along streams mostly in valleys
    Achillea borealis subsp. cal.

    Yarrow

    birds eat seeds summer Lesser goldfinch,Lawrence's goldfinch many areas
    Adenostoma fasciculatum Chamise birds eat seeds summer Lesser goldfinch,Lawrence's goldfinch chaparral areas, provides cover
    Alnus rhombifolia White Alder birds eat seeds,buds, provides cover and nesting materials summer Pine Siskin, Lesser goldfinch,Lawrence's goldfinchWarblers, Cedar Waxwings grows in streams throughout coast ranges and western Sierras
    Alnus rubra Red Alder same as white alder same as white alder same as white alder grows mostly near streams, only found along coast from central California to Ore.
    Amelanchier alnifolia Western Serviceberry fruits summer Blue Grouse, Catbird, Crow, Evening Grosbeak,, Western Scrub Jay, Yellow-billed Magpies, Mockingbird, American Robin , Townsend's Solitaire, Western Tanager, Sage Thrasher, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Important food during summer, mostly mountain forests
    Antirrhinum multiflorum Many Flowered Snapdragon birds work flowers, birds eat seeds spring-summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird seed gleaners large perennial
    Aquilegia sp. Columbine birds work flowers spring-summer Anna's Hummingbird Allen's Hummingbird species in mountains, desert, coastal areas, in moist, partly shaded areas
    Arbutus menziesii Pacific Madrone fruit fall Band-Tailed Pigeon, varied Thrush, Long-Tailed Chat in forests, mostly in the northern coast ranges
    Arctostaphylos sp. Manzanita fruit, birds work flowers summer-fall Western Scrub Jay , Black-headed Grosbeak,, Mockingbird, Fox Sparrow, Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird provides excellent cover, throughout California except deserts
    Artemisia sp. Sagebrush birds eat leaves, birds work flowers, birds eat seeds LEAVES-year round FLOWERS-spring through fall, depending on species SEEDS-fall through winter Sage grouse, California quail, Mountain quail, Green-tailed towhee throughout California, provides cover and nesting sites and perching sites
    Asclepias sp. Milkweed stems stems-early spring used to construct Hooded Oriole nests throughout California except directly on the coast
    Aster sp. Aster birds eat seeds seeds-fall Lesser goldfinch Lawrence's goldfinch, sparrows throughout California
    Atriplex sp. Saltbush birds eat leaves, birds eat seeds leaves-year round seeds-summer through fall California quail, Lesser goldfinch Lawrence's goldfinchCalifornia Towhee, sparrows shrub species provide cover, throughout California, will grow in alkaline or saline soils
    Baccharis sp. Mule-Fat, Water-Wally, Seep-Willow, Coyote Brush birds eat seeds seeds-summer through fall Lesser goldfinch Lawrence's goldfinchand sparrows evergreen shrubby species provide cover year round, found throughout California
    Beloperone californica Chuparosa (Spanish for hummingbird) birds work flowers flowers-spring to early summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird sip nectar from flowers, sparrows, Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinchother birds eat flowers along streams in the low elevation desert in southeastern Calif (Colorado or Sonoran desert)
    Ceanothus sp. California Lilac birds eat seeds seeds-summer through fall mountain quail, California quail, through most of Calif, provides good cover and nesting sites for many birds
    Cephalanthus occidentalis buttonbush, buttonwillow birds eat seeds seeds-summer through fall ducks love seeds in wet areas, at lower elevations, Central valley, northern coast ranges, is useful for cover and food
    Cercis occidentalis Western Redbud birds eat seeds, birds work flowers seeds-fall flowers-spring Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, Lesser goldfinch,Lawrence's goldfinch provides cover, food and nesting material, found in foothill areas of coast ranges and Sierras from mid-state northward and desert slopes of so. California mountain ranges
    Cercocarpus sp. Mountain Mahogany birds eat seeds and birds eat leaves seeds-summer to fall leaves-year round blue grouse-seeds and other birds eat leaves throughout California in mountainous areas, provides good cover
    Chilopsis linearis Desert Willow birds eat seeds and birds work flowers seeds-summer to fall, flowers-spring to fall White-winged dove eat seeds, Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird work flowers along streams in Mojave and Sonoran deserts,
    Chrysothamnus sp. Rabbitbrush birds eat seeds birds work flowers summer to fall, birds eat seeds summer to winter Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinch House finch, pine siskin, California quail, (One of two main food sources for quail in areas where plant is common) provides good cover, and is a major component of low elevation desert margins and high elevation deserts, some species in foothills, mountains, and alpine areas,
    Cirsium proteanum(Cirsium occidentale var. venustum) Red Thistle birds eat seeds, butterflies and Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird
    like flowers
    birds work flowers summer to fall, birds eat seeds summer to winter Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinchpine siskin, thorny sucker that is worked hard by birds and butterflies, native to many of the foothill areas
    Comarostaphylis diversifolia Summer-Holly birds work flowers, fruits birds work flowers late spring-early summer, berries present summer -fall Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird sip nectar from birds work flowers, berries eaten by mockingbirds, American Robin , Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush,cedar waxwing, Phainopepla, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinchCalifornia Towhee, California Thrasher,, Western Scrub Jay, fox sparrow, Wrentit,other birds located only at low elevations, coastal areas, San Diego County,

    Cornus sp.

    Dogwood birds work flowers, buds and fruits birds work flowers spring -summer, fruits summer-fall flowers- western tanagers and warblers fruits-Western Bluebirds, Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinch Mockingbirds, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush,flickers, Black-headed Grosbeak, kingbirds, Hooded Oriole, Yellow-billed Magpies, flycatchers, American Robin , sapsuckers, tree swallows, tanagers, California Thrasher,, vireos, warblers, cedar waxwings, woodpeckers, Band-Tailed Pigeon. Buds eaten by Band-Tailed Pigeon, other birds. found in moist soils in forests and along streams, used for cover, a very valuable bird plant
    Cupressus sp. Cypress birds eat seeds
    Red-breasted nuthatch, probably others found in chaparral and mountainous areas, scattered throughout California Probably used by the Red-breasted nuthatch, only in high mountain areas where it grows in association with conifers
    Delphinium cardinale Scarlet Larkspur birds work flowers flowers- spring thru summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird love grows in openings in woods, chaparral, and coastal scrub in the lower half of coastal California
    Diplacus sp. Monkeyflower birds work flowers flowers- late spring to midsummer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird grow throughout California, in scrub, chaparral and woodland, in rocky areas, birds work flowers last longer in afternoon shade
    Dudleya sp. Live-Forever birds work flowers flowers-spring to summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird visit throughout California in rocky places, mostly grow in coastal scrub and chaparral, great in a rock wall
    Eleocharis sp. Spikerush birds eat seeds, culms, tubers seeds-summer to fall culms, tubers- all year birds eat seeds, culms, tubers eaten by coots, ducks (mallard, pintail, redhead, ring-necked, lesser scaup, shoveller, cinnamon teal, green-winged teal) , Canada goose, snow goose, whistling swan, seeds eaten by Virginia rail, spotted sandpiper, common snipe grows at water's edge, is of moderate importance to birds
    Encelia californica Coastal Bush Sunflower birds eat seeds seeds-spring thru fall Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinch sparrows eat birds eat seeds dry, sunny areas in coastal scrub and chaparral, southern California
    Epilobium- see Zauschneria




    Equisetum sp. Horsetail stems and rootstocks stems and rootstocks all year eaten by snow goose and whistling swan, likely other waterfowl found in moist areas at edges of lakes and ponds, moist soil in many different habitats thruout California
    Eriogonum sp. Buckwheat birds eat leaves, birds eat seeds leaves-all year seeds- fall leaves- eaten by blue grouse, California quail.Seeds eaten by House finch, Dark-eyed Junco, California horned lark, Bell sparrow, brown towhee, Spotted Towhee, other birds good cover in open areas, very common in California in sunny, dry or well-drained places
    Eschscholzia species California Poppies seeds summer California quail, love annual to perennial
    Forestiera neomexicana Wild Privet, Desert Olive fruit fruit-summer fruit eaten by California quail, American Robin and probably other fruit-eating birds in dry areas, interior side of coast ranges, to southern California valleys, Mojave desert and desert mountains, not a common shrub
    Fragaria sp. Wild Strawberry leaves- fruits eat leaves all year, fruits summer, fall leaves eaten by blue grouse, California quail, fruits eaten by American Robin , blue grouse, California quail,, Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinch,Black-headed Grosbeak, sparrow, California Thrasher,, California Towhee, cedar waxwing, Western Scrub Jayand other birds grow in sunny or shady, moist soils, very easy to cultivate, birds love them
    Fraxinussp. Ash birds eat seeds seeds-fall seeds eaten by Wood ducks, California quail,, Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinch Black-headed Grosbeak, cedar waxwings, sap is extracted and eaten by sapsuckers grows mostly on moist soils such as near streams, rivers, moist areas
    Galvezia speciosa Island Snapdragon birds work flowers flowers-spring Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbirdsip nectar from flowers Beautiful garden subshrub, not frost tolerant, grows in rocky areas, does best in afternoon shade in interior areas
    Geranium sp. Wild Geranium birds eat seeds seeds-summer birds eat seeds eaten by Mourning Dove, California quail, California Towhee Small perennials that grow in forest meadows, and edges, not dry areas
    Helianthus sp.

    Sunflower

    birds eat seeds seeds-fall birds eat seeds eaten by Bush Tits, Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinch other seed gleaning birds deciduous perennial
    Heteromeles arbutifolia Toyon Berries winter Band-Tailed Pigeon, berry lovers like Western Bluebirds and American Robin large evergreen shrub, throughout California Except deserts
    Heuchera maxima Island Alum Root birds work flowers spr Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird sub-shrub, perennial, north slope
    Juglans calif. And Juglans hindsii California Black walnut nuts winter Western Scrub Jay J. calif. Small dec. tree, J. Hindsii, large dec. tree seasonally wet coastal California Indian sites
    Keckiella species Bush Penstemons birds work flowers early spring-summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird small bushes, usually summer dec., chaparral
    Lavatera assurgentiflora Malva Rosa birds work flowers, birds eat seeds summer fall Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, seed gleaners large bush, aggressive seeder in coast areas, native on islands
    Lepechinia calycina Pitcher Sage birds work flowers summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird summer dec. bush, seasonally wet, most of state except deserts
    Lonicera species(all) Honeysuckles birds work flowers and berries spring, summer, fall Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, California Towhee, California Thrasher,, American Robin , Western Bluebirds rambling vine, seasonally wet, creek side everywhere
    Lupinus species Silver Lupine birds eat seeds summer California quail, LOVE, other birds like bush, everywhere
    Mahonia Nevin's Mahonia berries summer Western BluebirdsLOVE, American Robin , California Thrasher, California Towhee large evergreen bush southern Calif mountains
    Mahonia aquifolium, M. repens, others Mahonia, Berberis except M. nevinii Oregon Grape berries summer California Thrasher,, American Robin , California Towhee, berry lovers creeping bush, chaparral and forest
    Malacothamnus species Bush Mallows birds eat seeds, Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird pick insects out of flowers Summer through fall seed gleaners like bush tits, Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, pick tiny insects out of flowers bushes, semidec. In fall, chaparral
    Mimulus species Monkey Birds work flowers flower summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird small to large perennial, wet places throughout
    Monardella species Coyote Mint flower summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird small perennial, brushy and forest areas
    Penstemons
    flower spring-summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird perennials, throughout
    Pinus species Pines birds eat seeds, pick insects out of bark always Western Scrub Jayand Steller's Jays, White-breasted nuthatch, Red-breasted nuthatch,, many others trees, all but deserts
    Platanus racemosa Sycamore fuzz, and birds eat seeds spring, winter Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird use fuzz for nest, seed gleaners eat Trees, wet places throughout
    Prunus species Cherries berry summer many, Western Scrub Jay large bushes
    Quercus species Oaks birds eat nuts (acorns), birds eat leaf galls, birds pick insects off leaves and twigs, birds use tree for nesting sites,birds pick insects out of bark birds use bark in which to store acorns All year The most!, Western Scrub Jayand Steller's Jays, Band-Tailed Pigeon, California quail, White-breasted nuthatch, Oak Titmouse and others eat acorns. Bushtits eat leaf galls. The Oak Titmouseand bushtits pick insects off leaves and twigs. Woodpeckers and White-breasted nuthatchpick insects out of bar. Woodpeckers store acorns in bark.
    Rhamnus species Coffee Berry drunk feeding frenzy when berry ripe summer-fall Western Scrub Jay, California Thrasher,, other berry eaters large bushes, (R. crocea much smaller but little berries), seasonally wet places except desert
    Rhus species Sugar bush, Lemonade berry, etc. Berry summer-spring California Thrasher,, California Towhee, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush,Warblers, Wrentit, etc medium to large bushes, desert to chaparral
    Ribes viburnifolium Evergreen currant berry, flower winter-summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, California Towhee, California Thrasher, medium groundcover for shade, island north slope
    Ribes species Currants Berry, flower winter-summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, California Thrasher,, Western Scrub Jayand Steller's Jays, etc. medium deciduous. shrubs, north slopes
    Rosa species Wild Rose hips summer-fall Western Scrub Jay, California Thrasher,, California Towhee, etc. creeping deciduous. shrubs, seasonally wet places throughout
    Salix species Willows most always many, young catkins eaten, scales, aphids, galls, etc. all very important part of that habitat large shrubs frequented by birds from the surrounding communities, wet places throughout
    Salvia species Sages birds work flowers and birds eat seeds spring-fall Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, seed gleaners shrubs to perennials, sun to part-shade, desert to chaparral, not conifer forest
    Sambucus >Sambucus species Elderberries Berries, birds work flowers, stem structure always all, a VERY heavily used bird bush, we have a Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird nest in ours most years large dec. bush, seasonally wet places throughout
    Scrophularia species Bee plant, Figwort birds work flowers, birds eat seeds spring-summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, small seed gleaners perennials, chaparral
    Shepherdia argentea Silver Buffalo Berry berry summer berry eaters large dec. shrub, wet spots in desert mountains
    Sidalcea species Checkers birds eat seeds summer California Thrasher,, seed gleaners small perennials, grasslands
    Solanum species Nightshades berry summer berry eaters have not been informed that these are supposed to be poisonous perennials, S. hoffmanii is big groundcover or bush, all but deserts
    Stachys species Hedgenettle birds work flowers summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird creeping perennials, all but deserts
    Toxicodendron diversilobum Poison Oak Many birds eat fruits Summer- fall- winter Too many birds to imagine, VERY IMPORTANT to birds. California quail, Western Bluebirds, Bushtits, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinch flickers, Dark-eyed Junco, Ruby crowned Kinglet, Yellow-billed Magpies, crows, sparrows, California Thrasher, Black Phoebe, sapsuckers, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush,Oak TitmouseCalifornia Towhee, wrens, woodpeckers, vireos, warblers, waxwings, Wrentit, etc. etc. Chaparral, woodlands, forests below 4500 ft. elevation
    Trichostema lanatum Woolly-blue curls birds work flowers summer Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird shrubs, chaparral
    Washingtonia filifera Fan Palm dates summer-fall Cedar waxwings, other large beaked birds trees, oasis
    Zauschneria species(Epilobium) California fuchsia birds work flowers summer-fall Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird creeping perennial, seasonally wet spots through