Native Plants Are Important For Wildlife

Please consider utilizing native plants when planning and updating your landscapes. Why you ask? Good question. This is from the Audubon’s Plants for Birds program:
 
“So why are native plants so important to us and birds? The reasons are fairly complex, as most things in nature are, but the basics are fairly easy to understand and an upcoming article may explain this in more detail. It all boils down to this: Birds don’t just eat seeds, nuts and berries. They must have protein in order to reproduce. Very few birds can survive without animal protein, whether from larger animals or insects, including caterpillars, worms, etc. Over thousands, maybe millions of years, birds have become dependent on native insects. And this is the other important fact: These native insects are in turn dependent on native plants to survive. Over the same amount of time, our insects have adapted to be able to assimilate the chemicals in the tissues of plants. In most cases they cannot eat non-native plants. And birds do not usually eat non-native insects because they can’t assimilate these chemicals. Have you noticed that spring migration coincides with the appearance of vast numbers of insect caterpillars on trees and shrubs? This is no accident. These birds are about to start nesting and laying eggs, and they head for native plants as soon as they arrive from more southern regions to eat as many caterpillars as they can. You can help by providing them the plants they need, as long as you don’t use chemicals to kill insects.
 
Now you can see the interconnection of plants, insects and birds. They all depend on each other. As we continue to eliminate native habitat by development and planting non-native grasses and other plants, we are removing just one more link in the chain of sustainability. There truly is a web of life, where everything is connected to everything else. I hope we can explain more about this in detail in the future. In the meantime, educate yourself on use of native plants, examine your own landscaping practices and see how you can help.”
This entry was posted in Wildlife and Landscape.