The plants of the U.S. Botanic Garden provide habitat for all sorts of wildlife. More than 130 bird species have been recorded in the Garden to date. These birds are an important part of the garden and are great indicators of its health and ecological role. We often think of plants as useful only to humans, without thinking of the habitat they provide for local wildlife.

Covering three acres of downtown Washington, D.C., the gated outdoor gardens serves as a lush haven in the midst of the city. The native plants in the Regional Garden give birds food and shelter, as natural areas in the mostly urban environments of D.C. recede.

The birds of the U.S. Botanic Garden list is designed to serve as a companion to the existing plant information in the garden, providing a more complete view of the garden’s inhabitants and the relationships between them. Understanding how plants, animals, and their environments interact is necessary to conserving and better understanding the natural world.

Bird Common Name Scientific Name Companion Plant Scientific Name Relationship
American Crow Corvus brachyrynchos black oak Quercus velutina roosting site, nesting site, food
American Robin Turdus migratorius trumpet honeysuckle Lonicera semperverens food source
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica American black elderberry Sambucus nigra food source
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata black oak Quercus velutina food, dispersal, shelter
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum Eastern red-cedar Juniperus virginiana nesting
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater highbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum shelter
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum Atlantic white-cedar Chymaecyparis thyoides food source (berries)
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula black oak Quercus velutina food source
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis shelter
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii bighbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum attracts mourning doves, a food source
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens goldenrod Solidago erecta contains fly larvae, which are a food source
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus coastal serviceberry Amelanchier obovalis food source
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus highbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum food source
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris hackberry Celtis occidentalis food source
Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa pitch pine Pinus rigida nesting, hunting ground for insects
Goldfinch Spinus tristis loblolly pine Pinus taeda Shelter
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis blackberry Rubus 'Shawnee' food source
Green Heron Butorides virescens Carolina willow Salix caroliniana Nesting
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus sunflower Asimina triloba food source
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus blackberry Rubus 'Shawnee' food source
House Sparrow Passer domesticus sunflower Asimina triloba food source
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus switchgrass Panicum virgatum shelter
Mallard Duck Anas platyrhynchos sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua food source
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura bighbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum food, dispersal, shelter
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis American holly Ilex opaca food, dispersal, shelter
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos common spicebush Lindera benzoin dispersal
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla common buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis attracts insects for food
Purple Finch Haemorhous purpureus tulip poplar Liriodendron tulipifera food source
Red Wing Black Bird Agelaius phoeniceus switchgrass Panicum virgatum food, shelter
Red-Bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus loblolly pine Pinus taeda nesting, food
Red-Tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis Virginia pine Pinus virginiana shelter
Rock Pigeon Columba livia sunflower Asimina triloba food source
Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris cardinal-flower Lobelia cardinalis pollination
Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus Carolina willow Salix caroliniana Nesting
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia fuji cherry Prunus incisa food source
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua shelter, nesting

Birds in the stream in the U.S. Botanic Garden Regional Garden
Birds in the stream in the U.S. Botanic Garden's Regional Garden of native plants by Liz Kylin