Songbird Sanctuary Garden


Sebastopol | Large 3/4 acre Garden

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Homeowner Veronica introcuces her garden.

With the needs of native songbirds in mind, the creation of our Songbird Sanctuary habitat garden began nearly 15 years ago. It is a work in progress and a constant source of learning for me. The garden and the wildlife rehabilitation hospital, Native Songbird Care & Conservation, are located on my home property in Sebastopol.

The majority of our rustic habitat garden occupies approximately an acre of the land and is mostly California native plants. There are a few ornamentals here and there that were planted before we bought the property 18 years ago. Slowly but surely, the ornamentals will be replaced with California native plants.

The garden is drought tolerant and does not use irrigation. A small amount of supplemental water may be provided during the peak of summer from water collected in rain barrels during the winter. A series of swales and basins installed in the fall of 2016 help slow and sink rainwater on our land.

Most of the plant material in the garden was selected with the needs of native songbirds in mind and provides a variety of food sources including berries, seeds, nectar and insects. Some of the favored plants by birds include, coffee berry, toyon, native grape, coyote bush, quailbush, ribes, salt bush, elderberry, various buckwheat species, mallow and ceanothus.

The success of our efforts to provide native habitat in the Songbird Sanctuary Garden and what it provides to our local wildlife is measured by the response of our local songbirds. Up to 33 species of native songbirds have been recorded nesting on our 2-acre property during spring and summer. The Garden provides what they need – food, water, shelter and safe places to nest and raise their young.

The Garden also provides vital habitat for migratory birds passing through as well as overwintering songbirds. In addition to the diversity and abundance of songbirds, we host a variety of other wildlife, from bobcats and brush rabbits, to Western Fence Lizards and Great Horned Owls. A large variety of native bees, butterflies and other insects also call the garden home.

We hope you enjoy our garden and are inspired to create habitat for songbirds in your own backyard.

Events at Songbird Sanctuary Garden

  • Wildscaping for Songbirds Talk 12 p.m.
  • Information Table: Insects for Native Songbirds

Your garden is your outdoor sanctuary. With some careful plant choices, it can be a haven for native birds as well. Landscaped with native species, your yard, patio, or balcony becomes a vital recharge station for migratory birds passing through and a sanctuary for nesting and overwintering birds.

Each patch of restored native habitat is just that – a patch in the frayed fabric of the ecosystem in which it lies. By landscaping, or wildscaping, with native plants, we can turn a patchwork of green spaces into a quilt of restored habitat. More native plants mean more choices of food and shelter for native birds, native pollinators and other wildlife.

In our presentation, Wildscaping for Songbirds, we will demonstrate the importance of restoring our communities, one garden patch at a time. From a birds-eye view, learn how to create wildlife-friendly gardens that help combat the loss of open spaces and create green corridors that link your wildscape to larger natural areas by providing habitat for wildlife.


Plants to Look out For

Our favorite native plants for native songbirds featured in the Songbird Sanctuary garden include:

  • Toyon – berries in winter
  • Coffee berry – berries in fall
  • Coast live oak – insects, acorns, nesting and roosting habitat, safe cover
  • Ribes – nectar, berries
  • Mallow – nectar, insects
  • Coyote bush – insects, seeds, nesting material, nesting habitat, safe cover
  • Native grape – berries
  • Ribes – nectar, berries
  • Elderberry – nectar, berries in summer
  • Ceanothus – nectar, insects, roosting and nesting habitat, safe cover
  • Quailbush – tender tips, provides safe cover and nesting habitat
  • Sticky Monkey Flower – nectar
  • California Fuchsia (various) – nectar
  • Buckwheat (various) – nectar, seeds
  • Goldenrod – nectar, seeds
  • Aster (various) – nectar, seeds

A complete printable plant list for Songbird Sanctuary Garden can be downloaded using the blue button below.