How to Grow Your Own Bird Food

Flowers can do more than just look pretty, they can also provide food for the variety of birds that will fly by your yard. Beautify your landscape and feed the birds for free without any additional effort on your part, now that’s positive, sustainable living that’s good for both you and the birds. Plant some of these flowers and grow your own bird food almost every month of the year.

Black eyed susan - makes excellent bird food

Black eyed susan – makes excellent bird food

 Black-Eyed Susan

Common flower with an uncommon beauty, black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

feature a black seed center surrounded with bright yellow petals that draw in migrating birds for a tasty treat. Tall stems produce flowers throughout the summer and keep the birds coming back for more free food. The flat blooms are also attractive to butterflies looking for a meal.

Blazing Star Flower - makes great bird food

Blazing Star Flower – makes great bird food

 Blazing Star

Blazing star (Liatris)is also called gay-feather and is a favorite of the American gold finch bird. Small purple blooms are borne on a tall spikes in mid-summer with tasty seeds for the finches once the blooms have faded.

Coneflower makes very good bird seed

Coneflower makes very good bird seed

Coneflower

Coneflowers (Echinacea) are a staple in many flower gardens and are prized for their medicinal purposes and are often used in the making of tea to boost the immune system. Bright-colored, easy-care perennial plants that come in a wide range of bloom colors, coneflowers get their name from their center ‘cone’ in each bloom is filled with seeds that attract a variety of hungry birds. Coneflowers bloom continuously from mid-summer through early fall and attract a variety of birds with their bright colored blooms and can be used to make tea for you to drink while bird watching.

Coreopsis is a common flower that birds love

Coreopsis is a common flower that birds love

Coreopsis

Coreopsis, also known as tickseed, is a flower that will flourish in the hot summer heat with little water and birds love them. As a bonus, coreopsis is also a favorite food of many caterpillar species and will attract butterflies looking for a place to lay their eggs.

Cosmos - a tasty treat for feathers friends

Cosmos – a tasty treat for feathers friends

Cosmos

Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) grows care-free in full sun, producing an abundance of colorful blooms and birdseed from summer through fall. The blooms are flat and shaped like daisies, making them attractive to passing butterflies too.

Mexican Sunflower - seed senior

Mexican Sunflower – seed senior

Mexican Sunflower

The Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia divers folia) grows tall and stately much like its common sunflower cousin. Mexican sunflowers thrive in heat and tolerate drought conditions, producing large flower heads filled with seeds. This hard-working flower will also improve garden soil quality by increasing all three vital nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).

Sunflowers, who doesn't like this staple?

Sunflowers, who doesn’t like this staple?

Sunflowers

With blooms the size of dinner plates, sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are as intriguing as they are beautiful. The flower heads turn and move with the sun each day and are filled with seeds that attract birds. The seeds ripen in late summer and keep birds fed during the fall and winter months. Sunflower seeds can be dried and eaten by humans and their oil can be extracted and used as a healthy cooking oil.

Purple Millet Majesty

Purple Millet Majesty

Purple Majesty Millet

Purple majesty millet (Pennisetum glaucoma) grows to reach a mature height of five feet. The plant boosts long, fodder-shaped leaves that are deep purple in color. Each plant will produce one foot-long bloom in top of the plant. Each bloom is filled with seeds that birds can’t resist. The colorful foliage and bloom spikes will enhance your landscape and attract birds from late spring until the first frost of all.

Winterberry

Winterberry

Winterberry

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a deciduous shrub in the holly family that produces bright red berries during the winter when bird food is hard to be found in the wild. The stark contrast of the red berries against a backdrop of white snow combined with a steady stream of hungry birds makes the winterberry one of the most beautiful ways to grow your own bird food.

 

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