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Plants for Birds

The Jayhawk Audubon Society has joined with National Audubon to promote Plants for Birds, a nationwide effort to get 1 million native plants planted within five years.

Whether you have a small city lot, a generous suburban yard, or a rural estate, the way you landscape your property can make a difference to birds.

Birds need food, shelter, water, and nesting sites. Gardeners are in a unique position to provide all four. Read on for the specifics of how you can create a bird-friendly garden in eastern Kansas.

Several nonprofit organizations hold native plant sales in spring and fall, and many locally owned garden centers also sell true native plants.
Grassland Heritage Foundation’s Spring Sale
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20 at Trinity Episcopal Church
Sunrise Project Native Plants Sale will be 10am to 2pm, April 22 & 29 (Saturdays) at Sunrise Project
Master Gardeners Native Plant Sale will be on Saturday, June 3rd in the open pavilion on the Dg. Co. Fairgrounds

Local Plant Sales

Three Tenets of Gardening for Birds

Grow trees, shrubs, vines and flowers

Mostly native

Lots of them

The Best Native Plants

Eastern Kansas, with its patchwork of forests and prairies, is home to hundreds of species of plants — many of them quite showy when grown in a cultivated garden.

In fact, many of our natives are grown elsewhere around the world as ornamentals. Think of Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Liatris, and prairie grasses, for example. Planting native species does not mean you can't have a gorgeous garden.​

For a list of Kansas native plants, including photos and the birds each attracts, visit National Audubon's database and input your zip code.

For a list of recommended natives that you can print and take to a garden center, click the button below.


To attract birds to your yard and keep them hanging about for a bit, there are a few key elements you must provide in your landscape: water, shelter, food.


It's All About Insects

Adult birds eat insects - lots of them. Bees, beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, bugs, and grasshoppers all are on the menu. Nestlings and fledglings are particularly dependent on insect food which comprises nearly their entire diets. Our yards need to produce an abundance of insects in order to feed both adult and baby birds.

Gardening for birds means gardening for insects. Since native insects have evolved to feed on native plants, we need to grow an abundance of native plants.

Photos by Jim Bresnahan.


Where to Buy Native Plants

Several nonprofit organizations hold native plant sale fundraisers each spring. Check back in March for the schedule of this year's sales. 

Many local nurseries and garden centers also sell native plants. Here is a partial list:

Happy Apple's Farm

Henry's Plant Farm

One Heart Farm

Vinland Valley Nursery

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