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Old 09-17-2009, 04:48 PM   #1
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Default Creating a Bird-Friendly Yard with Native Plants

Creating a Bird-Friendly Yard with Native Plants

http://www.for-wild.org/land/nbirdscaping.html
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Over thousands of years, birds and plants have developed a mutually beneficial relationship. Birds help to pollinate plants, disperse their seeds, and eat the insects that can ravage them. To entice birds to do this work for them, plants have evolved colorful, nectar-filled flowers and luscious, nutrient-packed fruits and seeds to nourish them. In addition, their limbs and leaves offer nesting sites and cover.

Why landscape for birds?
"Small 'islands' of habitat can provide food resources to birds, particularly during migration.", Victoria D. Piaskowski, International Coordinator, Birds Without Borders - Aves Sin Fronteras, Zoological Society of Milwaukee.
* Habitat loss is the single most important cause of the decline of species. Your yard, whatever its size, can offer habitat for birds.
* Many birds seldom or never use feeders, preferring natural foods.
* Feeder birds get only a relatively small portion of their nutrition from feeder food

Why plant natives?
"Native plants, which have co-evolved with native wild birds, are more likely to provide a mix of foods - just the right size, and with just the right kind of nutrition - and just when the birds need them." Stephen Kress, National Audubon Society
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:30 PM   #2
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Wow . Very interesting findings.
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Researchers have found that native plants are better for birds and for the insects they need for survival.
Some of their findings include the following:
  • There are more bird species and greater numbers of birds in areas with native species than in areas with exotic, or non-native, species.
  • Birds nesting in non-native shrubs, like buckthorn and honeysuckle, are more likely to fall victim to predators such as cats and raccoons than birds nesting in native shrubs. This is due to the branching and other characteristics of the non-native shrubs.
  • Cedar Waxwings that eat the berries of one species of non-native honeysuckle develop orange, rather than yellow tail bands. This color change could be harmful to the birds, since they use color in mate selection and territorial disputes.
  • Most insects, so important for bird nutrition, prefer their native host plants and, in fact, often lack the enzymes needed to digest non-native plants.
  • Native wildflowers often offer significantly more nectar for hummingbirds than the cultivated hybrids that have been derived from them.
  • The great variety of native species, which provide food for birds throughout the year, is being replaced by a very limited number of invasive non-native species. These invasives offer food of reduced variety, quality, and seasonal availability.
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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Another good source of info on landscaping for birds by Mariette Nowak Is her 2007 book "Birdscaping in the Midwest:A Guide to Gardening with Native Plants to Attract Birds":

http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...ing-birds.html
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