Elisabeth C. Miller Library logo Miller Library Home UW Botanic Gardens Home UW Botanic Gardens Home book graphic

3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98195 | (206) 543 0415 | Open: | Library Schedule

Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Search Results for: Attracting wildlife | Catalog search for: Attracting wildlife

PAL Questions: 3 - Garden Tools: 4 - Recommended Websites: 13

Keywords: Vaccinium parvifolium, Shepherdia canadensis, Sambucus cerulea, Rubus leucodermis, Rosa gymnocarpa, Amelanchier alnifolia, Rosa nutkana, Oemleria cerasiformis, Berberis nervosa, Berberis aquifolium, Malus fusca, Prunus virginiana demissa, Prunus emarginata, Quercus garryana, Corylus cornuta, Crataegus douglasii, Rhamnus purshiana, Vaccinium ovatum, Vaccinium ovatum, Umbellularia californica, Rubus spectabilis, Gardening to attract birds, Attracting wildlife, Rosaceae (Rose Family), Gaultheria shallon

PAL Question:

I am planning a garden in Seattle and my highest priority is to attract birds. Do you have a list of plants I can use as a reference?


This is a more difficult question than one might imagine. According to Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, "almost 300 species of birds are native to the Pacific Northwest. Many of them could call your yard home for at least part of the year, depending on what you provide for them. So it depends on what species of birds you want to attract and what environments they need."
Source: Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, by Russell Link (University of Washington Press, 1999, p. 48).
There is a lot of good advice on planning your garden with birds (and other creatures) in mind.

Washington Native Plant Society has a resource page devoted to native plants for wildlife.

The Miller Library has a booklist featuring titles on attracting wildlife to the garden: Information Resources for Gardening with Wildlife.

Another good source for this information is Native Plants of the Northwest, by Wallace W. Hansen. Scroll down to Wallys Wildlife Habitat Recommendations.
Following is an annotated list of plants that attract birds for western Washington: the oaks, chinquapin, Oregon myrtle, western hazelnut, cascara, and all trees in the Rose family (hawthorn, bitter cherry, chokecherry and Pacific crabapple). Native shrubs include: serviceberry, salal, all Oregon grapes, Indian plum, bittercherry, roses, blackcap, thimbleberry, salmonberry, Pacific blackberry, red and blue elderberries, russet buffaloberry, mountain ash, snowberry, and all huckleberries.

Seattle Audubon's book and online resource, Audubon at Home in Seattle: Gardening for Life has a chapter on designing a garden to attract birds, and it includes a plant list.

Season All Season
Date 2016-08-31
Link to this record only (permalink)

Keywords: Honeybees, Honeybee diseases, Attracting wildlife

PAL Question:

Apparently there has been some mystery about struggling honeybees lately, and today I saw what appeared to be a honeybee frantically grooming herself on a strip-upholstered lawn chair. I didn't know what to do for the creature, who eventually blew or flew away. What should I do if I see this in the future? Also, does the grooming behavior inform the mystery in any way?


You may want to talk directly with someone at the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association. They meet at 6:30p.m. every fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Washington Park Arboretum 2200 Arboretum Drive East, Seattle.

The following sites discuss varroa mites and bee behaviors, including grooming:

  • USDA
    Excerpt: "We're not the only ones to brush off an annoying mosquito or other buggy pest. Honey bees, when plagued by tiny tracheal mites, will use their legs like a fine-tooth comb to rid themselves of the life-threatening parasites. But, as entomologists with the Agricultural Research Service recently confirmed, some honey bees groom themselves more fastidiously than others."
  • Dave Cushman's bee site
  • Wikipedia page on varroa mites

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education website has information on honeybees and varroa mites, including breeding bees for grooming behavior. Here is an excerpt:
"Bees bred for hygienic behavior are able to detect and physically remove disease-infected brood from the colony before it becomes infectious. Hygienic bees are able to detect and remove diseased brood before the human eye can detect any sign of disease symptoms. When bees remove the disease in the non-infectious stage, it prevents the disease from spreading throughout the colony."

Studies of colony collapse disorder are underway at Washington State University: WSU Research news

What you observed in your garden could actually be a sign of a bee fighting off the mites. The best thing you can do is to grow a wide range of bee-attracting plants in your garden, avoid the use of pesticides, and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Below are links to information on bee gardening:
UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab's Gardening for Bees
Puget Sound Beekeepers Association list of honey bee-friendly plants for the Puget Sound area
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
Xerces Society list of Pacific Northwest Plants for Native Bees

Season All Season
Date 2016-08-16
Link to this record only (permalink)

Keywords: bats, Quirky, Attracting wildlife

PAL Question:

I have a couple of questions. Are there plants I can grow that will attract bats, and are there plants that are bat-like in appearance?


The organization Bats Northwest recommends providing habitat (such as hollow trees and snags). The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has information on bat houses you can build or purchase. More information can be found at Bat Conservation International.

I did not find specific lists of bat-attracting plants, but providing a diverse tree canopy which includes trees that attract moths (for bats to eat) may make your landscape more bat-friendly. The British Bat Conservation Trust suggests that you leave some wild areas in the garden, add a pond if you can (as a place for bats to drink and forage on insects and their larvae), and plant night-scented flowers. Plant diversity seems to be the key: you can try growing flowers of different shapes, sizes, and fragrances, pale single flowers, and flowers which are good "landing platforms" for insects (such as daisy and carrot family plants).

There are several plants that resemble bats. Here are a few suggestions:

Season All Season
Date 2016-12-17
Link to this record only (permalink)

Keywords: Constructed wetlands, Backyard gardens, Attracting wildlife, Ponds

Garden Tool: Urban gardeners can do their part to conserve natural resources and restore the environment. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service has adapted agricultural practices in a new online publication called Backyard Conservation. Ten "chapters" with detailed instructions show how to build a backyard pond or wetland, how to promote wildlife and how to manage nutrients to prevent pollution of lakes and streams.

Season: All Season
Date: 2007-04-03
Link to this record (permalink)

Keywords: Cold protection of plants, Frost, Attracting wildlife, Christmas trees, Recycling (Waste, etc.)

Garden Tool: Before you send your Christmas tree away to be chipped for mulch, consider how the tree can be used in your own garden. Cut the branches off the main trunk to place around plants or emerging bulbs that could use extra frost protection. The main trunk could then be used as a stout stake for annual vines planted in the spring. Another idea is to use it as a temporary bird feeding station. Tie on orange slices, suet balls, peanut butter and birdseed smeared pine cones and then stand back and watch the feeding frenzy.

Season: All Season
Date: 2005-10-21
Link to this record (permalink)

Keywords: Plant care, Plant diseases--Control, Insect pests--Control, Attracting wildlife

Garden Tool:

By November Seattle has usually had a good hard frost and most of our herbaceous (non-woody) perennials have either turned to mush or look a bit tattered. Before you give in to the temptation to cut back everything in sight, consider the advice of natural gardening advocates James Van Sweden, author of Gardening with Nature (Random House, 1997) and Jackie Bennett, author of The Wildlife Garden (David & Charles, 1993):

  • Leaving seed heads and dead stems over the winter gives the garden winter interest, especially if we get some snow
  • Seed heads from Black Eyed Susans, Echinacea, Larkspur and Evening primrose provide bird food
  • Beneficial insects hibernate or over-winter as eggs on plant waste
  • Marginally hardy plants like some salvias and lavenders benefit from the little bit of frost protection from the desiccated stems

On the other hand, sanitation is critical if your apples suffered from codling moth or scab or your roses suffered from black spot. Rake up and dispose of every single diseased leaf or infected fruit. Insect and disease organisms also over-winter on plant debris, so if you had a problem this year, start the treatment now with a thorough clean-up.

Season: Fall
Date: 2007-03-26
Link to this record (permalink)

Keywords: Attracting wildlife

Garden Tool:

Turn your garden into a little oasis for wildlife by growing plants that provide food for flying and buzzing creatures. The National Wildlife Foundation has articles on attracting bats, birds, bees, and other wild critters, as well as how to deal with the not-so-welcome.

After you've done your homework and planted wildlife feeding plants you might be ready to declare your yard a Wildlife Sanctuary. For an information package on becoming a backyard wildlife habitat manager send $10.00 to: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek, WA 98012. More information online.

Season: All Season
Date: 2007-04-03
Link to this record (permalink)

Didn't find an answer to your question? Ask us directly!

Browse keywords or Search Again:

March 22 2017 13:26:25