As cold as it has been, the birds have nowhere to go other than to hunker down in the bushes and leaf piles. Just sparrows – this was a result of my bird count.
In general, bird are nature’s messengers. As populations of birds change, those fluctuations may indicate shifts in pollution levels, climate change, habitat loss, migration timing, and more. How will birds be affected by habitat loss, pollution, disease, climate, and other environmental changes? How will you change?
Plant a landscape in which birds and pollinators will have a chance of dealing with climate change. More native plants means more choices of food and shelter for native birds and pollinators. More native plants will be colorful, visually appealing, and more healthy for the landscape. The landscape will need no watering or fertilizer because of the deep roots. More than half of the birds and pollinators are threatened as a result of the changing world.
The National Audubon Society has some points for your native-plant garden:
557: Varieties of butterflies and moths are supported by native oak trees, as compared to only 5 butterfly and moth species supported by non-native ginkgo trees.
96: Percentage of land birds that rely on insects to feed chicks.
1,200: Number of crops that depend on pollinators to grow.
30-60: Percent of fresh water in American cities used for watering lawns.
40 million: Acres of lawn in the U.S. currently.
80 million: Pounds of pesticides applied to lawns in the U.S. annually. Native plants, on the other hand, support a balance of predator and prey, and thrive without pesticides.
17 million: Gallons of fuel used each year for refueling lawn equipment while polluting the air and groundwater.
800 million: Gallons of gasoline used annually by lawn mowers. This produces significant amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, driving climate change.
Easy Ways to Create Bird/Pollinator Friendly Gardens
Create native landscapes that will benefit birds and pollinators and you. This website provides practical, educationally sound information on native landscaping developed specifically for first-time native-plant gardeners. Included in the website is native-garden designs created by professional landscape designers for multiple ecoregions in the United States. The native-plant list takes into account the various light, soil, and moisture conditions. Read more at the Wild Ones.
The e-mail photo is by Doug Tallamy.