Best Trees for Birds and Backyard Fowls They Attract

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

We all admire the beauty that birds bring to our property. But, unfortunately, perfectly manicured lawns don’t attract the gorgeous fowls. After all, birds have needs, and if you cannot meet them, they may pass over to other properties. So, the best trees for birds are essential to bringing an array of bird species to your yard.

While you might think that putting bird feeders and baths may attract birds, they will only work temporarily. The birds will use your yard as a stop on their way elsewhere, but none of them will make it a home.

On the other hand, planting trees benefits birds by providing nesting sites, shade, and food. This guide will delve into a breakdown of trees suitable for birds and the types you are likely to attract.

Which Trees Attract the Most Birds?

A bird-friendly environment ensures birds have a reason to stick around longer, if not for good. Moreover, other than food and water, birds also need proper shelter.

There is a myriad of trees and native shrubs in urban forests that benefit birds by providing both food and habitat. Your yard can become the next destination birds prefer if you plant trees that provide them with what they need. With good trees and shrubs, you’ll discover really amazing birds that build beautiful nests.

Here is a list of different native trees that are best for attracting birds:

1. Red Mulberry Tree 

The RedMulberry tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree that produces mulberry fruits. These mulberries look like blackberries, only longer and more mature in the summer. Besides the bright red berries, this tree is loved by birds because it’s known to attract insects with its rich flowers full of nectar and foliage.

Red Berries

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The flowers attract insects, which in turn attract birds to the tree. The Red Mulberry tree attracts several colorful birds, including the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Warblers, and Baltimore Oriole. To ensure the Red Mulberry tree produces fruit, you must plant both the male and the female plants.

2. American Beech

When you talk about deciduous trees that attract almost all kinds of birds, then you must mention the American Beech. This large-sized tree is often home to more caterpillars than other trees. Caterpillars are a vital part of the nutrition and survival of baby birds (nestlings) yet to leave the nest.

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Birds also love American Beech for its foliage. During Summer and Spring, hungry warblers, Scarlet Tanagers, and Vireos crowded in the foliage of American Beech. In addition, American Beech attracts the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker that enjoys its sap. And in early Spring, the Purple Finch is attracted to the buds.

In fall, this tree continues attracting birds by producing beechnuts. The beechnuts are a favorite of the wild turkeys, Blue jays, and Tufted Titmice.

3. Wild Black Cherry

Wild Black Cherry is a medium-to-large-sized deciduous tree that attracts insectivorous and nectarivorous like hummingbirds. In the Spring, Wild Black Cherry produces white nectar-rich flowers, and in late Summer, it produces small black cherries. When the fruits are ready, the wild black cherry is among the deciduous trees that will attract almost all the fruit-eating birds. So, you can be sure to attract fruit-eating birds like Red-Bellied Woodpeckers to Gray Catbirds.

Female Trees

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If you are an enthusiast interested in birds such as Cuckoos and Orioles, you will be pleased to know that Wild Black Cherry attracts them too. The Eastern Tent Caterpillar is prone to creating its habitation in this deciduous tree. And it so happens that this caterpillar is a favorite snack of Orioles and Cuckoos. Wild Black Cherry offers a variety of food that birds eat.

4. White Oak

 Another tree that is host to various caterpillars is the White Oak. It is a large-sized deciduous tree that attracts insectivorous birds like the Warbler. In addition, the White Oak produces acorns in the fall, making it a favorite bird tree in the eastern forest. White Oaks also attract birds that travel long distances as they look for food.

Nest Sites

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Birds that feed on acorns include the Tufted Titmice, Blue Jays, and White-Breasted Nuthatch. In addition, the foliage and cavities make the White Oak popular as a nesting location for many birds.

5. Red Maple

Red Maple is a large deciduous tree that attracts various beautiful birds. With a great supply of insects and caterpillars, Red Maple attracts insectivorous birds like the Vireos. In early Spring, you can be sure to see the rare Evening Grosbeak in your yard because of the Red Maple buds.

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In late Spring, this deciduous tree drops samaras that consist of seeds loved by many birds, including the Northern Cardinal. Another feature of the Red Maple that is irresistible to many woodpeckers is its soft bark. Woodpeckers like the Pileated Woodpecker prefer the Red Mapple because, compared to other trees, it has a softer bark.

6. Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar is your best option if you want food and good shelter for your avian friends. Its large size provides shelter to many birds, and its dense needles create a favorite nesting location for many birds.

Important Food

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Eastern Red Cedar is a coniferous tree that produces fruit-like cones that are loved by an array of birds. So when you talk about the cedar waxwing, the “Cedar” in that name refers to Eastern Red Cedar cones which are a favorite bite for this bird. Nonetheless, the cones are loved by many other birds, including the Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Mockingbirds, Brown Thrasher, and more.

7. Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood, called Cornus florida, is among the most beautiful North American native trees. It is one of the most effective trees in attracting birds, especially insectivorous birds. The white flowers of Flowering Dogwood attract native insects when they bloom, and it becomes a haven for insectivorous birds.  

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In the fall, Flowering Dogwood produces a lot of red berries that are high in protein. In addition, the berries are loved by migratory birds. In other words, you will be attracting birds throughout the year.  

8. Eastern White Pine

Eastern white pine is another favorite deciduous tree that birds love. Because of its large size, it is one of the best trees to provide bird shelter. It also produces seed-filled cones that are a favorite amongst several birds.

Seed Bearing Cones

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With Eastern white pine, you will be treated to various birds who love spending their time in and around the tree. Such birds include but are not limited to the Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Blackburnian Warbler, Long-Eared Owl, Crossbills, Pine Grosbeak, Pine Warbler, and Pine Siskin.

9. American Holly

Another medium-sized deciduous tree that birds love for good shelter and sweet berries is American Holly. The Eastern Bluebird loves the berries that persist through Winter. In addition, it has sturdy leaves that shield birds from weather elements, including winter snow.

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It is common to see birds making their nests in American Holly because of its protection. For example, the American Robin and Northern Cardinal popularly use American Holly as their nesting location.

10. Sweet Birch

Sweet Birch is one of the most healthy deciduous trees for plants for birds. It attracts many birds, including the American Goldfinch, Dark-Eyed Junco, and Black-Capped Chickadee; all these and more are attracted to the Sweet Birch because of its cone-shaped strobili with seeds loved by birds.

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Another reason Sweet Birch is a bird’s favorite is because of the different species of insects it hosts. These insects attract Scarlet Tanagers, Warblers, and Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Then the high sap content attracts the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker to the Sweet Birch. Plus, you can opt for a silver birch which is also a favorite amongst insectivorous birds.

Six Backyard Birds That Eat Berries

If there is one bird food that trees and shrubs produce persistently, it is fruits. As seasons change and insects disappear, bite-sized fruits that birds eat are always available.

The following are six birds that eat berries and are popular in backyards:

1. Cedar Waxwings

The Cedar waxwings move as a whole flock when looking for food. Usually, they don’t have a permanent home region except at nesting time. The bulk of their diets consists of berries throughout the year. Most of the time, when they move, it is usually in search of food. The trees that attract them the most include the flowering crab, deciduous hollies, hawthorn, junipers, mountain ash, toyon, and more trees that are rich in berries.

Small Birds

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2. Bluebirds

Bluebirds eat insects, but berries become their main delicacy when they dwindle. One of the best trees guaranteed to attract bluebirds is the Winterberry. However, the only issue with this tree is that the bluebirds easily finish their berries.

To keep bluebirds around for longer, the only trees that sustain them for several weeks include native trees like eastern red cedar, evergreen holly, and hawthorn. Bluebirds eat almost all berries, even poison ivy. Even in Winter, you can still attract bluebirds with the fuzzy spires of staghorn sumac.

Nesting Sites

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3. Yellow-rumped Warblers

Yellow-rumped warblers are the only berry-eating birds that can successfully digest the wax in bayberries and myrtles. They are found mostly in North America and can transform the wax in bayberries into fat that helps them survive in the cold seasons.

Yellow-rumped warblers are versatile foragers compared to other Warblers. For example, they can be easily spotted fluttering from a tree to pounce on an insect. Nonetheless, the males are known to forage higher up in trees than females.

Migrating Songbirds

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4. Woodpeckers

There are several woodpecker species, and while they are popularly known as singletons, you’ll see the different types at winter berries. The different types of woodpeckers seek to eat berries during Winter, especially from trees like poison ivy and oak. The flicker and sapsuckers see these thorny trees as goldmines for good berries. However, it is important to note that woodpeckers tend to “plant” seeds from the berries they have eaten via droppings.

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5. American Robins

If there is anything like split-personality for birds, then Robins have it. Robins are one of the most common backyard birds, especially during the summer. However, in Winter, they tend to retreat into the woods and move in flocks looking for trees that supply enough berries for a whole flock. Trees that can easily supply enough berries to feed a flock throughout the year include hawthorn, juniper, sumac, hackberry, holly, beautyberry, pyracantha, viburnum, arrowwood, toyon, and more.

Attract Robins

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6. Northern Mockingbirds

Mockingbirds are perhaps the most entertaining backyard bird. It is bold and beautiful but a loner in Winter. They are called bullies because of their ability to mimic other bird sounds and because they are always responsible for most skirmishes at berries.

Northern mockingbirds are commonly very territorial, especially with berries. They frequent trees like crabapple trees, Bittersweet, pyracantha, viburnums, hollies, hawthorns, and others. As you attract mockingbirds, you’ll get to welcome hummingbirds and find out whether they can smell or see their food.

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Tips for Choosing Trees for Birds

While choosing the best trees and shrubs for birds, ensure they are also suitable for your landscape. When you plan to plant trees for your avian friends, remember:

  • Plant native plants that are suitable for your soil chemistry and regional climate.
  • Provide bird food all year round by planting from all three tree categories.
  • Opt for trees with different shapes, heights, and widths to suit bird preferences.
  • Choose healthy trees that can transition from the nursery to your yard seamlessly
  • Ensure you’re mindful of all wiring lines when planting trees and shrubs
  • Position your trees in such a way that your home gets sufficient sun for energy savings


Planting native plants in your yard to produce food that birds eat is essential for enthusiasts. Take advantage of your space and provide a nesting site, food, shelter, and more for birds. Ultimately, you will have the birds staying for longer, if not permanently, while enjoying the beauty of having them around.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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