Attracting Bluebirds

October 23, 2009.  If you need a good reason to plant more natives in your landscape, keep in mind that doing so will help attract bluebirds. Bluebirds are attracted to berry-bearing trees and shrubs, such as dogwood, shadbush, and high bush cranberry, according to a Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) fact sheet. Check it out to learn other plants and shrubs that attract bluebirds, plus other important  bluebird facts, breeding and nesting particulars, and how to build and situate bluebird nesting boxes.  And, if you are part of an organized group looking for a cool project, you can reserve the wood for bluebird nesting boxes from CT DEP … but hurry, it’s on a first come, first served basis.

Watching bluebirds flit about is a great winter pastime – the electric blue of their feathers really shows up against a snowy white background – and now is a good time to improve the bluebird attractiveness of your surroundings.  I often see bluebirds visiting the winter wreaths I place on entry doors, especially when I’m able to find juniper greens loaded with steely-blue berries.  The National Wildlife Federation lists the top ten natives for the northeast U.S. as:

  • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
  • Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
  • Red Chokeberry (Photinia pyrifolia)
  • Blue Vervain (Verbena hastate)
  • Rough-stemmed Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • New York Ironweed (Veronia noveboracensis)

The Connecticut Botanical Society lists many of these plus mountain laurel, bayberry, rosebay, some azaleas, fragrant sumac, high bush blueberry, plus others – follow the link to see photos.

goldenrod I’m lucky to have cedar, red oak, blueberry, and cardinal flower all growing naturally nearby.  Previously I planted winterberry, clethra, bayberry, and solidago.


HollyIlexmeserveaeBlueMaid2 Edited Thumb With any luck the new holly bush (Ilex meserveae ‘Blue Maid’) planted a couple of weeks ago will add to my yard’s bluebird appeal.

2 comments for “Attracting Bluebirds

  1. October 23, 2009 at 8:09 pm


    I had no idea that native plants were so attractive to bluebirds. I have red oak, sweet pepperbush, blueberry and goldenrod but no bluebirds. I do however have lots of bluejays and cardinals which entertain me during the winter. Believe it or not, their favorite winter spot is a big grove of winged euonymus. I think I need to plant more natives to entice the bluebirds into my garden, too.

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