Native plants and trees are healthier for bird and wildlife populations.

  • They provide seeds and berries that are typically consumed
  • They provide the proper habitat for insects consumed by bird populations in the region
  • They typically do not compete for space, growing out-of-control, becoming invasive

Native plants form the basis of our ecosystem and food web and contribute to the region’s biodiversity. The seeds, nuts, berries and nectar are digestible, nutritious and well-timed for local wildlife, unlike those of non-natives. Native plants have co-evolved with the insects, that are the primary food of many birds and other animals, and provide important shelter and support for them. Our native tree, White Oak (Quercus alba) support over 500 caterpillar species compared to the non-native Gingko Tree, which supports only 5 species. This is significant as it takes over 6000 caterpillars to raise one brood of chickadees!

Native plants don’t need fertilizers, extra watering, or pesticides since they are adapted to local conditions. As their roots grow much deeper, they can effectively reduce stormwater run-off when integrated into rain gardens, bioswales, and riparian buffers, so necessary for our green infrastructure.


By Kate Brandes


Click the link below to download your free backyard design guide.



Click the link below to access Audubon’s interactive native plants database.

You’ll get to explore the best plants for birds in your area, as well as local resources and links to more information.

Once you are finished, you’ll receive an emailed list of the native plants you’ve selected, get additional tips on creating your bird-friendly habitat, and help Audubon keep track of your contributions the Audubon goal of 1 million native plants for birds in the ground.