Using Native Plants for a Bird Friendly Habitat

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Photo By Barbara Driscoll

Why natives? Our local vegetation evolved with insects, birds, and other animals to create complex food webs. Wildlife consumes fruits, nuts, and seeds for sustenance, while helping to propagate the regional vegetation. Native plants, especially some tree species like oaks, are also host to a large variety of insects, which in turn are eaten by birds and other animals. Young nestlings, in particular, must consume large numbers of insects in their first weeks of life.

Non-native vegetation can provide some fruits, nuts, and seeds, but it does not host the insects that are vital to birds and the web of life. As their seeds are spread by wildlife, many non-native plants become “invasive” by outcompeting local vegetation and disrupting the local ecology.

Plants native to our area also grow better without special care since they are adapted to the soil and climate conditions of the area. However it is important to pick the right native plants for each specific situation on your property. The growing guides referenced below will tell you the sun, water and soil requirements of each plant.

Here are some important resources:

Recommended native plants and growing conditions:

Where to find native plants:

Other resources:

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