Plants that provide food & shelter to help birds survive the winter.

Superior Landscaping Ltd.


Plenty of birds leave Ohio gardens for warmer climes during winter — warblers and hummingbirds, for instance.

But many stay year-round, such as chickadees and hummingbirds, while others even fly south.

These intrepid little creatures can really use a helping hand at this time of year. January is not like June, when landscapes are brimming with caterpillars waiting to be munched and insects ready to be gulped.

Not only is food scarcer in winter, but birds also require plenty of calories to maintain their body temperature.

One of the easiest ways to support them and other hungry wildlife is to raise plants that offer seeds and fruits that persist through winter.

Fortunately, such plants are often beautiful as well as low-maintenance.

You do not need sprawling acreage or a large suburban backyard to make a difference. Even tiny urban courtyards can host a bird-friendly plant or two.

Here’s a look at some favourites that would work in a variety of landscapes.


Trees and shrubs

Crab apples are easy to grow, cover themselves with flowers every spring and — bonus! — boast miniature apples that birds and other wildlife love to eat.

These fruits, which might look more like cherries or raisins than the apples you see at the grocery store, can remain hanging on branches through winter.

Crab apples are tough little trees that come in both upright and weeping forms; flowers range from white to pink to coral.

Others to consider: bayberry, viburnum and winterberry.


Perennial flowers

Colorful, undemanding coneflowers have taken the gardening world by storm in recent years.

Birds, though, have always appreciated them for their seeds, which are held in spiky brown seed heads that add interest long after petals have fallen.

Others to consider: asters and black-eyed Susans.