How to attract specific birds to your yard

Do you have favorite birds you’d like to attract to your yard, or are you looking for more diversity at your bird feeders? Read this guide to learn about local birds’ favorite treats and garden plants!



FoodCracked corn, suet, millet, peanut kernels

Feeder – Platform

Garden Plants – ragweed, goldenrod, cattail, bulrush, sedge, marsh vegetation




 FoodMealworms, suet, fruit and berries, sunflower hearts, peanut kernels, eggshells (during nesting season)

Feeder – Platform or Tray Feeder

Garden Plants – Fruit trees, berry bushes, dogwood, crabapple, red cedar, holly, elderberry, grape, arrowwood, winterberry, Virginia creeper, liatris

indigo bunting.jpg


FoodMillet, or mealworms (in breeding season)

Feeder – Platform Feeder

Garden Plants: Seed and nut-bearing trees, elderberry, coreopsis

northern cardinal.jpg


FoodSunflower seed, safflower, fruit, suet, millet, peanut kernels

Feeder – Platform Feeder, Hopper Feeder, Sunflower Feeder

Garden Plants – Berry bushes, dogwood, crabapple, grape, elderberry, sumac, arrowwood, tulip tree, Virginia creeper, black eyed susan, pine and dense evergreens



FoodSunflower seed, peanut kernels, suet, berries

Feeder – Tubular, Hopper, or Platform Feeder

Garden Plants – Pine, blueberry, wax myrtle, birch, elm, ragweed, sunflower, black eyed susan, coreopsis


mournig dove.jpg


 FoodMillet, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, thistle

Feeder – Platform Feeder

Garden Plants: Berry bushes, seed-bearing plants



FoodThistle/Nyjer seed, black sunflower seed,

Feeder – Thistle Feeder, Platform Feeder

Garden Plants – Birch, blackgum, hornbeam, arrowwood, coreopsis, cosmos, dandelion, black eyed susan, coneflower, sunflower, thistle, zinnia


FoodThistle/Nyjer seed, sunflower, millet, suet, peanuts, fruit

Feeder – Thistle Feeder, Platform Feeder, but will also visit most others

Garden Plants – Berry bushes, crabapple, arrowwood, coreopsis, golden rod, sunflower, coneflower

ruby throated hummingbird.jpg


FoodPlant nectar, sugar water

Feeder – Hummingbird Feeder

Garden Plants – Cardinal Flower, Coral Honeysuckle, Red Beardtongues, Red Bee Balms, Red Columbines, Red Salvias, Coral Bells

Read more about attracting hummingbirds here

blue jay.jpg


FoodPeanut kernels, acorns, cracked corn, black sunflower seeds, suet

Feeder – Tray or Platform Feeder

Garden Plants – Oak, elderberry, dogwood, coneflower

brown headed nuthatch.jpg


FoodSuet, sunflower seeds, nut kernels, cracked corn

Feeder – Suet Feeder, Sunflower Feeder

Garden Plants – Hickory, beech, oak, pine, black eyed Susan



FoodFruit, sugar water, suet

Feeder – Hummingbird Feeder or Oriole Feeder, Fruit Feeder

Garden Plants – Berry bushes, fruit trees. grape

common redpoll.jpg


Foodthistle, black sunflower seeds

Feeder – Mesh Thistle Feeder

Garden Plants – Trees for cover and nesting, thistle, sunflower



Food Mealworms, apple, berries

Feeder – Platform or Fruit Feeder

Garden Plants – Pesticide-free lawn areas, dogwood, wax myrtle, pyracantha, elderberry, holly, crabapple, grape, arrowwood, winterberry, Virginia creeper

pine siskin.jpg


Foodthistle/Nyjer seed, sunflower, millet, suet, peanut kernels

Feeder – Thistle Feeder, Platform Feeder, Suet Feeder

Garden Plants – Pine, sweetgum, maple, seed-bearing plants



FoodMillet, peanut kernels, suet, sunflower seed

Feeder – Will visit most feeders

Garden Plants: Black-eyed Susan, coreopsis

common starling.jpg


FoodCracked corn, suet, millet, nut kernels

Feeder – Platform Feeder

Garden Plants – Virginia Creeper

tufted titmouse.jpg


Food - Sunflower seed, peanut kernels

Feeder – Platform Feeder, Suet Feeder

Garden Plants – Oak, beech, elderberry

yellow rumped warbler.jpg


FoodSuet, fruit, peanut kernels

Feeder – Suet Feeder

Garden Plants – Oak, pine, cypress, sycamore, willow, dogwood, juniper, honeysuckle, blackberry, Virginia Creeper, coreopsis

cedar waxwing.jpg


FoodBerries, raisins, apple

Feeder – Platform, Fruit Feeder

Garden Plants – Pyracantha, red cedar, hawthorn, dogwood, cotoneaster, crabapple, arrowwood, winterberry


downy woodpecker.jpg


FoodSuet, mealworms, fruit, nut kernels, sunflower seeds

Feeder – Suet Feeder or Platform Feeder

Garden Plants – Oak Virginia Creeper, dead trees or stumps for nesting

 Read More about North Carolina Woodpeckers here


carolina wren.jpg


FoodSuet, peanut butter, chopped apples

Feeder –Suet Feeder, do not visit feeders often

Garden Plants – Grasses, leaves, twigs for nesting material