My Thanksgiving traditions include spreading a feast for the wild birds.

Cedar waxwing  

 Since I don't grow all of their native food plants, I resort to putting out extra sunflower and thistle seeds, suet with peanuts, fruit, and mealworms.

But I thought it would be appropriate, since this is a garden rather than a avian gourmet blog, to mention some plants that are food sources for birds (and many butterflies as well.)

The list focuses on my Zone 9 habitat, but many of these are good in other regions as well.  Some of the plants bear fruit which attracts the fruit eating birds, others attract insects which feed the bug eating birds.

All of these plants are suitable for a residential garden.

For berry eating birds such as Cedar Waxwings, Robins, Thrashers, Thrushes, Western Blue Birds, Mockingbirds, Towhees, Western Tanagers and Grosbeaks, try these pretty bushes:

Barberry (Berberis nevinii)

Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica)

Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana)

Gooseberries and Currents (Ribes spp)

Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

 Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp.)

For seed eating birds like Warblers, Finches, Goldfinches, Sparrows, Doves, Towhees, Juncos, Bushtits and Quail, try these:

Buckwheat (Eriogonum)

Bunchgrasses (Nasella spp.)

California Lilac (Ceanothus spp.)

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

Sedges (Carex spp.)

Thistle (Silybum marianum)

This list doesn't include the zillions of wild and cultivated flowers that also feed birds, but you can find information about this at


Goldfinch on thistle 

Photo credit to Jerry DeBoer