Attract More Birds To Your Garden With A Stunning Tree They Love

If drawing more beautiful birds to your yard and garden is on your to-do list, but you don't want to tend to a bird feeder or bird bath, another option to consider is planting a tree. One they'll flock to in both spring and fall is the flowering dogwood. Birds you can expect to attract by planting this type of tree include red-bellied woodpeckers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, cardinals, mockingbirds, and bluebirds, among many others.

While they can grow fairly tall, usually to 35 or 40 feet, flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) also does well in the shade of other trees like pines or hardwoods. They're found growing natively in many areas of the western half of the United States in USDA zones 5 to 9. That means as far north as Maine, to the west into Missouri and parts of East Texas, and in the Deep South, you can expect the flowering dogwoods you plant in your yard to thrive for as many as 80 years. They also grow slowly, making them popular as landscaping plants.

Why birds are attracted to dogwood trees

In the spring, flowering dogwood trees bloom profusely, putting on a bevy of white or pink flowers. All those blooms attract insects, and where insects congregate, birds can't be far behind. During the summer, sawflies also lay their eggs on dogwood leaves, which produces caterpillars for birds to feed on. Then, in the late summer and early fall, another swath of blooms is produced. Those blooms are followed by red fruits or berries that vary in size and shape depending on the flowering dogwood species. These aren't edible by humans, but their nutrients attract no fewer than 28 types of birds as they're migrating. Ironically, the fruit produced by the kousa dogwood can be consumed by humans, but birds do not feed on them, so choosing another species is imperative to attract birds.

Of course, you may be avoiding a bird feeder and turn to a flowering dogwood tree to discourage cute-but-pesky squirrels. If that's the case, be aware that squirrels and other larger animals like deer are drawn to the fruit as well, so planting a dogwood may have unintended consequences. Nevertheless, you should definitely achieve your goal of attracting a wide array of birds to your yard by planting this variety of flowering tree.