From Our President: Landscaping for the Birds

It’s the time of year when we have an opportunity to create bird-friendly yards! Get out in the garden to work some landscaping magic with the purpose of welcoming the migrating birds to nest and raise their young in our area. Birds have been using the Northern Hemisphere for nesting over thousands of years. In recent years, human impacts on the environment have drastically changed their world, as well as ours. Actions we take today can help make our yards more welcoming to the birds and wildlife. 

The goal is to provide native plants the birds can eat, the pollinators can get their sustenance from, and that are relatively easy to grow in our Pacific Northwest soils and climate. Overall it is a win-win-win for animals, plants and people. Native plants are habituated to our weather cycles, require less water in the summer, and can also survive the wet cold winters. They produce nectar for birds and insects in the spring, and fruits and nuts for birds and other wildlife in the autumn. These plant species are also fairly resistant to insect pests and diseases, so in general they do not require much human intervention. 

The Lane Audubon website has a list of native plants we compiled with the help of the local Native Plant Society and Bruce Newhouse. The list is at laneaudubon.org/conservation/issues/gardening

There is also a new National Audubon Society web resource called “Plants for Birds” which includes a Native Plant Database with a photographic list of plants and birds attracted to them. This new plant database provides region-specific native plants, so when you enter your zip code, you will find the list specific to your area. It is fun to use, and the information is worthwhile. The plant photos give you a visual goal for the types of blooms you can expect to enjoy. To get started, go to: audubon.org/plantsforbirds 

Working toward our native planting goal is invigorating and gives us a tangible product we can feel good about. We know, at least in our yards, we give back to nature and invite the natural world in to feel welcome through the seasons.

For another reminder to those of us who believe we can make some positive changes in our life that can affect the world around us, see “Things You Can Do for the Environment,” which was presented at our March Program meeting.