Shrubs for Attracting Songbirds: How Bushes Bring Birds to the Garden With Food and Shelter

Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Attracting birds to the garden landscape can be easy for gardeners who plant these shrubs that feed and house native bird species.

These shrubs and bushes provide sheltering branches for birds to come and hide in, get away from predators, or build nests. Many of the shrubs mentioned also provide birds a source of food, attracting them to the garden landscape.

Butterfly Bushes Also Attract Birds

Butterfly bush

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) is known as the must-have shrub for the butterfly garden, however the loose growing shrub attracts a host of other wildlife.

The varieties with red flowers are known to attract hummingbirds to the garden in the late spring or summer while in bloom. Orioles and other small, predatory birds will find an abundance of insect life attracted to the butterfly bush a tasty treat.

And the open, bushy growth habit provides plenty of shelter for feathered visitors to hide in – a must for a wildlife friendly environment.

Evergreen Hollies for Food and Shelter

Holly shrubs

What gardener hasn’t seen the classic icon of a bird perched in the winter green branches of an evergreen holly shrub? There is a reason this picture is so familiar – hollies will attract a very wide variety of bird life to the garden landscape.

Some of the birds that gardeners may see on their holly bushes include wild turkey, doves, blackbirds, goldfinches and bobwhites to list just a few.

There are hundreds of holly shrub varieties that grow well in almost any climate zone, and there are choices for gardeners in any area of the United States.

Holly shrubs can be an important part of a wildlife friendly environment because of the winter berries that provide a source of food when it can otherwise be difficult for birds to find.

Colorful Viburnum Berries to Feed Birds

Viburnum berries

The viburnum shrubs include cranberries and provide an amazing abundance of food for many different types of birds. Over 30 bird species are known to visit viburnum shrubs, including bluebirds, pine grosbeaks, cedar waxwings, cardinals and flickers.

The beautiful spring flowers become fruit in the later summer through winter. Viburnum berries are available in a wide variety of colors including yellow, red, and purple. Some of the viburnum plants are evergreen, while others are deciduous and have beautiful fall colors of red, yellow or orange.

Other shrubs that attract birds to the garden by either providing a place to shelter, or a source of food include cotoneaster, juniper, bayberry, snowberry, elderberry, sassafras and wild cherry shrubs. By adding a few of these shrubs into the landscape, gardeners can attract a host of birds to their environment.




Juniper Berries
Juniper Berries






Wild cherry shrubs
Wild cherry shrubs





Shrubs for Attracting Songbirds: How Bushes Bring Birds to the Garden With Food and Shelter