It is often advisable, in the making of landscape plantings, to use trees and shrubs which possess ornamental values from a landscape viewpoint, and which also produce fruit that attracts various species of birds. It is sometimes possible to use these plants in large groups, while in other instances it is advisable to use such plants as specimens at intervals in the proposed plantings. This type of plant must be one which produces fruit or seed pods which can be eaten by the birds. In this manner a large number of birds may be kept on many home grounds throughout the different months of the year, especially if plants are selected which attract the birds in these different months. It is much easier to select a group of plants which will attract birds during the winter months when no food is available than it is to choose plants which will attract birds during the summer months when food is plentiful.
There are many plants, such as sumacs, mulberries, blackberry-lilies, jewel weeds, and hazels, which should be used, occasionally, because their main value is the value of their fruit for the feeding of birds, while they possess a very minor value for ornamental landscape planting. On the other hand, there is a surprisingly large list of plants which are desirable and which are grown commercially in the nursery for use in ordinary landscape planting which do not produce valuable fruit.
In this list the reader will readily note that different kinds of shrubs produce fruit which attracts different kinds of birds. The owner of an estate should therefore know the birds which generally frequent the locality in question and should use plants producing fruit attractive to these species of bird life. There are many shrubs the fruit of which is either too hard or too acid for birds to eat, such as the following: privets, sweet shrub, and bladder-nut.
To successfully attract birds a plant must possess certain requirements such as ability to produce a quantity of edible fruit, to afford shelter from the extreme heat of bright sunny days, shelter from wind, and to provide sufficient seclusion so that certain types of birds may be protected from the view of persons. On another page there is a list of plants which are used during the growing season to attract birds and to keep them away from the fruits in the garden, particularly the berries. In fact, many farmers, as well as the owners of ornamental plantings, have found that cultivated fruits are greatly protected from damage if wild fruit is plentiful in that special locality, and that they are subject to much damage where wild fruit is scarce. An interesting point in the discussion of plants used for attracting birds is the fact that many birds feed upon fleshy fruits in order to obtain the water which they contain. Therefore the presence of bird baths on home grounds, where cultivated fruits require protection, will often keep many of the birds away from the fruit.
The barberries, snowballs, sumacs, elderberries, bush honeysuckles, mulberries, bitter-sweets, and wild grapes attract the greater number of birds.