Planting for the birds

Plump, ripe berries are a bird’s best buffet when winter has made nutritious insects a hard meal to find. Here are some bird-friendly plants for your yard that can help them get through the lean times.

Serviceberry. Petite white flowers that resemble cherry blossoms appear in early spring. The plant grows 25 feet tall, likes part-shade to shade and average to poor, wet-medium soil. Edible red-purple fruits ripen in summer, and foliage turns red to orange in fall. Cold hardy zones 4-9.

Eastern red cedar. Gray-blue, berrylike fruits appear in fall on this native evergreen that grows 10-20 feet wide and 20-40 feet tall. In addition to providing berries as food, the large shrub/small tree offers shelter and nesting sites for songbirds. Hardy in zones 3-9.

Winterberry holly. Tiny white flowers cover the plant September-January, and showy red fruit embellishes female plants fall and winter. Robins and waxwings particularly like the plant. Hardy in zones 4-8.

Wild strawberry. White-petaled blooms, followed by wild strawberries, cover the plant from early spring to June. The 6-inch-tall plant likes sun to part shade and dry soil; use it as a perennial groundcover. Hardy in zones 3-8.

Newport News Daily Press