Natural Habitat Gardening: Growing Food For Wildlife - Berries and Seeds

| 8/2/2012 6:17:53 AM

To create a natural habitat garden, you need to include plants that provide food for the wildlife that live in your area. Growing plants that provide berries and seeds attracts a wide variety of wildlife and the plants are pretty easy to find. I’m guessing you currently have some of the plants growing on your property.

The following native trees provide seeds for turkeys, grouse, small mammals, and songbirds.

  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Box Elder (Acer negundo)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • White Pine (Pinus strobus)

We have turkeys that stroll through our property. I enjoy their company. They are quite comical to watch as they bob and weave and strut around the place.  

The following native perennials plants produce seeds that provide food to migrating birds and birds that stay all year, including cardinals, goldfinches, sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches, towhees, mourning doves, and finches.

  • Asters (Aster)
  • Coreopsis (Coreopsis)
  • Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Joe-pye Weeds (Eupatorium maculatum) 
  • Sunflowers (Helianthus)
  • Blazing Stars (Liatris)
  • Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia)
  • Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum)
  • Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)
  • Goldenrods (Solidago)
  • Ironweed (Vernonia missurica)
  • Big Bluestems (Andropogon gerardii) 
  • Little Bluestems (Schizachyrium scoparium)

The important thing to remember when growing perennials is to NOT deadhead the flower heads. Leave the dead flower heads on the plants through fall and winter to feed the local and migrating birds.

Berries are also an important food source for birds and other wildlife all year.

8/4/2012 1:12:51 PM

Mary, my contribution to the critters of the garden was three rows of sweet corn. I planted it with the intention of leaving it for them to have a harvest celebration. They didn't disappoint me. One Friday the corn was ripe and by monday it was cleaned out. My thoughts were to give them a section of the garden which would deter them from trying to break into my fenced in garden area. So far it's worked. Next year they will get a bigger area to keep them busy. However, this method could backfire and I could have every deer, squirrel, raccoon, rabbit, opossum, wild turkey, or groundhog in my garden for miles around. :0) Have a great day feeding the wild life.