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Fall Berries Are a Bounty For Birds

Photo Group
Cedar Waxwing (left) and American Robin (right)
Photo by: 
Mary Nemecek

When the shortening days of late summer give way to fall, most people notice a substantial decline in activity at their feeders. Mother Nature provides a bounty that lures the birds from the feeders to something more tempting. Ripening berries abound and one way to keep the birds in your yard is to grow some of the preferred berry-bearing natives. They have excellent wildlife value and are attractive in the landscape as well. In addition, birds that are not normal yard visitors may show up for the fruit feast. Keep a close eye and you may see waxwings, warblers, vireos, thrushes, bluebirds and kingbirds among many others. Many of these native plants provide cover and nesting sites for birds throughout the spring and summer. All of the following are native to Missouri.

  • American Beauty Berry (Callicapa americana) deciduous shrub 3-5ft with spectacular bright violet berries in late September or early October. Full sun/part shade. May die back to the ground in winter.
  • Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium) Shrub grows 12-15ft, white, flat top flowers in spring, purple-black fruit in fall. Burgundy fall foliage. Fruit tastes like raisins. 
  • Full sun/part shade
  • Rusty Black Haw (Viburnum rufidulum) 10-15ft, white flowers in March-April and clusters of red berries in September. Red fall foliage. Full sun/shade.
  • Rough-leaved Dogwood (Cornus drummondii) Small tree or shrub, to 16ft, that is easily recognizable by it’s white berries in late summer/early fall. Has showy white flowers in the spring. Full sun/part shade.
  • Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum) shrub 6- 8ft, white flowers in June and blue fruit in August, red stems in fall and winter. Sun/shade
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) shrub 9-15 ft, yellow-green flowers in late March-April, red berries in late summer/fall on female plants. Aromatic leaves, yellow fall foliage sun/shade but for best fall color plant in sun. Also host plant of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly.
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) small tree 10-20ft, fragrant white flowers in March-April, red fruit enjoyed by birds and people, orange fall foliage full sun/shade
  • Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) spreading shrub 3-9ft, yellow flowers in April, female plants bear red fruit in late summer/early fall, fabulous fall color ranging from orange to scarlet to reddish purple. Sun/part shade

By Mary Nemecek