Michael Goldman, mgoldman@gmail.com, 614-545-5486


Use Plants to Attract Brilliant Birds to Your Yard This Spring

Audubon’s Native Plant Database Makes Ecologically Friendly Landscaping Choices a Snap

With spring arriving earlier than usual and bird migration currently underway, Grange Insurance Audubon Centers Conservation Manager Michael Goldman invites nature enthusiasts to grow bird-friendly native plants at home. Through Audubon’s Plants for Birds public online database, anyone nationwide can access a list of native plants that benefit their favorite local bird species, by just typing in their zip code.

 “Did you know that 96 percent of land birds feed insects and spiders to their chicks? A single nest of chickadee babies may scarf down as many as 9,000 caterpillars before they fledge. Native tree species are better for birds because they host many more caterpillars; native oaks support more than 550 kinds of butterflies and moths. Non-native Ginkgo trees? Only five.” said Tod Winston, Plants for Birds program associate at Audubon. 

Gardens are outdoor sanctuaries for birds, insects and other wildlife. Every spring, migrating birds visit our yards looking for nourishment from our gardens and places to raise their chicks. By adding native plants to one’s yard, balcony, container garden, rooftop or public space, anyone, anywhere can not only attract more birds but give them the best chance of survival in the face of climate change and urban development.

Most landscaping plants available in nurseries are exotic species from other countries. Many are prized for qualities that make them poor food sources for wildlife. They generally also require more chemicals and water to thrive, increasing maintenance time, costs and environmental hazards. Some can even become invasive.

“Birds and native plants are made for each other thanks to millions of years of evolution,” says Dr. John Rowden, Audubon’s director of community conservation. “As plants grow and bloom earlier because of warming temperatures, there is a growing mismatch between bloom times and the arrival of birds that depend on them. Habitat provided by native plants can help climate threatened birds adapt and survive.”

By growing native plants, you can help protect birds while turning your home into a private wildlife paradise. Keep Ohio’s common birds common with these native plants this spring:

·         Chickadees and Titmice

Birds: Black-capped Chickadee, Carolina Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Juniper Titmouse, Oak Titmouse, Tufted Titmouse

Attract Them With: Birches (Betula spp.) and sumacs (Rhus spp.)




·         Hummingbirds

Birds: Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Costa’s Hummingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird,  

Attract Them With: Honeysuckle vines (Lonicera spp.), penstemons (Pentemon spp.), milkweeds (Asclepias spp.)), and sages (Salvia spp.)


·         Warblers and Vireos

Birds: Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo

Attract Them With: Oaks (Quercus spp.) and beeches (Fagus spp.)


·         Woodpeckers

Birds: Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker,

Attract Them With: Pines (Pinus spp.), hickories (Carya spp.), oaks (Quercus spp.), and cherries (Prunus sp.)


For extra bird-friendly home tips, gardening DIY’s, and more, visit

Grange Insurance Audubon Center's mission is to awaken and connect participants to the beauty of the natural world in the heart of Columbus and inspire environmental stewardship in their daily lives.


About Audubon

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more how to help at www.audubon.org and follow @audubonsociety.