9 Bird Friendly Landscape Tips for Southern Gardens

Much of the South enjoys an extended growing season thanks to warm temperatures and rich growing conditions. This also means that the nesting season for birds can be extended. Here are some tips and plant suggestions for making your southern backyard as bird friendly as possible. Get more information in Southern Birds.


  1. Get those nest boxes up and baffled early. The nesting season for some birds may start as early as February.
  2. Be ready to host hummingbirds at any time. While ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only nesting species, many western hummingbirds are wintering in the southern U.S. with increasing frequency. Make sure you have your feeders clean and filled and nectar-producing plants in your landscape for as much of the year as possible.
  3. Water and shelter are crucial for migrant and wintering songbirds, which may arrive on your property weary and hungry from the strain of migration.
  4. Plan areas of shade in  your landscape—places where birds  and plants can be sheltered from the hot rays of the summer sun. Vine-covered trellises and spreading shade trees will do the trick.
  5. Since drought-like conditions are common in  the South, consider creating a landscape that uses drought-tolerant native plants and resist the urge to water large areas of lawn.
  6. Add these flowering plants for hummingbirds: impatiens, phlox, blood sage, butterfly milkweed, cardinal flower, trumpet creeper, coral honeysuckle, and bleeding heart.
  7. Some great shrubs for birds are shrimp plant, pentas, mapleleaf viburnum, American holly, red buckeye, cedar, buttonbush, beautyberry, and coral bean.
  8. Try these berry producers for birds: hollies, wax myrtle, eastern red cedar, possumhaw, and winterberry.
  9. These trees are fabulous for attracting birds: black cherry, black willow, black locust, catalpa, crab apple, dogwoods, tulip poplar, red mulberry, elderberry, oaks, sweetgum, yaupon, pecan, and pines.

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Southern bird coverFrom the editor of the nation’s premier birding magazine, a no-nonsense, no-fluff quick guide to the birds you see every day. Of all the classic American pastimes, perhaps none is as widely accessible as watching birds. Our unusually vast, diverse environmental landscape supports fascinating species and variations exclusive to each region of the country. While birders often spend their efforts in search of the rarest creatures, some of the most beautiful and intriguing birds are the ones that frequent our backyards (or nearby) daily. For that reason, where other, larger volumes focus on bird types that the casual observer is never likely to encounter, Southern Birds concisely celebrates those species living under our very noses. Written by Bill Thompson III, the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest, this portable 5″x8″ book contains the same variety of entertaining and informative entries that make Bird Watche’s Digest the nation’s most popular birding magazine. Inside, you’ll find profiles of the 55 most common birds in the South, complete with large color photos, gender-specific physical descriptions, nesting and feeding information, bird call particulars, and interesting stories about each species. Thompson also introduces the reader to the basics of bird watching: essential gear, bird-friendly food and plantings, housing tips, and observational techniques. This guide covers North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas. Look for our other backyard bird guides covering the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, and West regions of the United States.