Plants For Birds

Gaillardia, or Blanket Flowers, are a great pollinator plant! Photo: Simon Tan

Ranges for South Carolina’s birds are shrinking and shifting due to climate change.  Shrinking ranges are an obvious threat.  But even a shift can prove hazardous, introducing birds to new predators and/or eliminating typical food sources. 

That's why it's so important to landscape with native plants.  Plants indigenous to our region provide just the right smorgasbord of insects, flowers, and berries to help climate-stressed birds become more resilient to changing weather patterns.  

Native plants have more subtle benefits too.  Their deep root systems – really deep compared to turf grass – restore healthy soils.  Healthy soils not only absorb stormwater, providing protection from floods; they also absorb or "sequester" carbon, which actually slows climate change.

So hey  how native is your backyard?  In urban and suburban areas, more than 80 percent of plants are exotic species.  Cities and suburbs now cover 10 to 15 percent of South Carolina, and growing.  If homeowners, developers, and landscapers statewide decided to "go native," we could ensure the survival of literally millions of birds.

So let’s get started . . . yesterday!  Check out the beautiful plants that are native to your area.  Investigate South Carolina’s native nurseries.  And please let us know if there's anything we can do to help you make the switch!


See the turf grass on the far left, with its pathetic little roots? Compare it to native plants, whose super-deep root systems reduce flooding and help limit climate change. Illustration: Conservation Research Institute

Painted Bunting

Latin:  Passerina ciris

Illustration for Painted Bunting

American Goldfinch

Latin:  Spinus tristis

Illustration for American Goldfinch

Blue Jay

Latin:  Cyanocitta cristata

Illustration for Blue Jay

Baltimore Oriole

Latin:  Icterus galbula

Illustration for Baltimore Oriole