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Nature Notebook – Attracting birds with native plants

Would you like to make your yard more inviting to birds? Plant some native plants. Would you like to help out baby birds? Plant some native plants.

Why? To attract bugs, of course.

The majority of birds (96%) feed bugs, not worms or seeds, to their babies. And, those babies are eating a lot of bugs. One chickadee family with six babies needs more than 9,000 caterpillars!

The bugs need something to eat before they become bird food. Most garden center plants were cultivated to be distasteful to insects. Also, most insects are “specialists.” They can only eat certain plants…those with which they co-evolved…native plants.

A recent study by a landscape ecologist demonstrated that neighborhoods with “wildlife-friendly elements (i.e., native) in yards is more important than having a neighborhood surrounded by parks or forest preserves” to increase native bird diversity.

So, help out the birds by using native plants!