Plants for the Birds in Your Region

Fine Gardening – Issue 201
Photos (clockwise from left): Netleaf hackberry,; black chokeberry, Bill Johnson; serviceberry, Jennifer Benner; and little bluestem, Michelle Gervais

As William Cullina mentions in his article on plants for birds, the sad reality is that songbirds are disappearing: “Habitat loss, pesticides, and the accompanying decline of insect populations have contributed to a loss of 25 to 30 percent of North American songbirds since 1970.”

But all is not lost. Waterfowl, such as ducks and geese, have seen an increase in population because of serious efforts to restore and protect wetland habitat. The same kind of efforts can be employed to benefit songbirds, and gardeners can help.

William says, “If each gardener played a small part, we could collectively have a large positive impact. Using waterfowl conservation as a model, we could help to reverse the songbirds’ decline. At the Morris Arboretum, we are beginning a long-term study to see if introducing more native plant species, removing invasive plants, and restoring meadows and hedgerows will have a positive impact on bird diversity.”

Find plants that will support your local bird populations below, and find even more plants for birds in William’s article, Native Plants for the Birds.