While bird feeders have long been a popular method for attracting feathered visitors to our gardens, they're not the only way to create a bustling avian paradise right outside our windows. In fact, birds are often drawn to gardens with a rich diversity of flowers and plants, offering not just sustenance but also vital nesting sites, shelter, and protection. From the vibrant hues of blooming flowers to the sturdy branches of native shrubs, each element of a well-planned garden can play a crucial role in supporting and attracting a variety of bird species. Here is a list of the top 10 must-have plants and flowers that are sure to entice a colourful array of birds into your garden.

1. Sunflowers

These cheerful giants are a favourite among many bird species, especially finches, tits, and sparrows. Not only do sunflowers provide seeds for birds to feast on, but their bright blooms also add a splash of colour to your garden.

2. Holly

A classic symbol of the festive season, holly bushes provide valuable shelter and nesting sites for birds throughout the year. The bright red berries that adorn the branches in winter are a favourite food source for thrushes, redwings and blackbirds.

3. Honeysuckle

A climber that offers both beauty and utility, honeysuckle produces fragrant flowers that entice bullfinches, warblers and thrushes. Its dense foliage provides excellent nesting sites, making it a perfect addition to any bird-friendly garden.

4. Echinacea

Also known as coneflowers, echinaceas are a magnet for birds, particularly finches and sparrows. Their sturdy stems and vibrant blooms add structure and colour to your garden while providing seeds for hungry birds.

5. Ivy

Ivy may not produce showy flowers, but its dense foliage provides excellent bird shelter and nesting sites year-round. In autumn, its small black berries are a valuable food source for thrushes, blackbirds, and robins.

6. Rowan

Also known as mountain ash, rowan trees are prized for their clusters of bright red berries, which are highly attractive to birds such as blackbirds, waxwings, and fieldfares. Their creamy white flowers in spring provide an additional source of nectar for pollinators.

7. Dog Rose

A native wild rose species, the dog rose produces delicate pink or white flowers in summer, followed by bright red hips in autumn. These hips are rich in vitamin C and are eagerly devoured by birds such as tits, thrushes, and bullfinches.

8. Berberis

With their spiky branches and colourful berries, berberis shrubs are popular choices for bird-friendly gardens. The berries, which range in colour from red to purple, attract thrushes, fieldfares, bullfinches and waxwings, providing a welcome feast during the winter months.

9. Hawthorn

Known for its dense foliage and fragrant blossoms, the hawthorn is a bird magnet, attracting species such as robins, finches, and blackcaps. In autumn, its vibrant red berries provide a vital food source for migrating birds.

10. Cornflowers

These charming wildflowers are a favourite of goldfinches, who relish the seeds produced by their cheerful blue blooms. Easy to grow and low-maintenance, cornflowers add a touch of natural beauty to any garden.

By incorporating these bird-friendly flowers and plants into your garden, you can create a haven for avian visitors while adding beauty and biodiversity to your outdoor space. Whether you have a small balcony or a sprawling garden, there's always room to welcome nature's winged wonders into your life. Happy birdwatching!