Choosing Bird-Friendly Native Plants

Male Anna's hummingbird feeding on
gooseberry. Photo by Stephen Rosenthal.

Considering adding some plants to your yard? Go native!

Native plants are a critical aspect of habitats for native wildlife, as the life cycle of each species is highly dependent upon others. For example, the spring migration of hummingbirds is synchronized to when flowers begin blooming, so the birds find food along their journey.

Unfortunately, as more and more natural areas are developed, more and more native plants are lost, disrupting this careful balance. You can help by choosing native plants for your landscape.

We have created a worksheet to help you find the right native plants for your needs. You type in the characteristics of what you want, from the smallest or largest size, to whether you want edible plants or to attract bees, and the worksheet will show you plants that are native to our area that meet your needs.

  1. Go to the Native Plants Chooser
  2. Sign into your Gmail/Google account to use this. If you don't have a Google account, click the Sign In link in the upper-right and follow the steps to create one.
  3. Once you've signed in, copy the sheet to your Drive by clicking the File menu, and then clicking "Make a copy"
  4. In your copy of the sheet, read through the instructions on the Welcome sheet.

Once you have picked some plants, check to see if they are found in your location. Click the name of the plant in the sheet to open the plant's page on the California Native Plant Society web site. Use the map there to see if the plant is reported to grow near you. For instance, while Western Redbud is native to Napa County, it is only found in the hills and mountains, so planting it on the valley floor is likely to be unsuccessful.

A list of Bay Area nurseries specializing in native plants can be found on the Nurseries sheet. Be sure to take your list of plants with you, either by printing it, or by loading the Google Sheets app onto your smartphone and opening the sheet from there

For more information about native plants, the California Native Plant Society is a good place to start.

Suggestions? Questions? Please email napa-solano-birds (at)

Get Rid of Your Lawn

The state of California and local governments offer programs to help pay for replacing turf with native plants. Go here for more information:

California State Turf Replacement Rebate

Napa Cash for Grass

Solano County Water Efficient Landscape Rebate Program