The Benefits of Bird-Friendly Gardens
Bird-friendly gardens are a bit of a misnomer, because they also attract beautiful butterflies, bees, and other critters--a lovely sight to behold in the spring! But not only do these gardens serve as a springtime invitation to regional fauna, they’re also beneficial for our environment. In this post, we give you a quick rundown of what kind of plants are best for a bird-friendly garden and why it’s so important to plant them.
Photo by Thalia Ruiz
Native Plants: What Are They?
Before you get your hands dirty, it’ll be helpful to know what plants are native to your area. Native birds have adapted to thrive off of plants that are native to the environments they live in. Because of this, the birds, butterflies, and bees that you share your neighborhood with are naturally drawn to plants native to that landscape. Native plants supply critical nutrients that they’ll need to survive.
Native plants also grow more effortlessly because they’re acclimated to their native habitat, making them hardier than a non-native plant. This means they can survive with less maintenance, reduced watering, and minimal or zero pesticides. As a result, critters can safely flock to your garden with reduced risk of poisoning.
Planting a variety of plants can also be beneficial for the animals and insects visiting your plants. Plants that grow at different times of the year can provide year round sustenance that supports bird and insect migration, which is becoming increasingly risky as their natural habitats and food sources are being destroyed all over the world.
Which Plants Attract Birds and Butterflies?
What is most attractive to birds and other garden visitors will depend on the region you live in, but some common plants that are appealing to them include:
- Bee balm (i.e. wild bergamot)
- False indigo
- Sea holly
- Sulphurs (e.g. clover, peas, vetch, alfalfa, asters)
- Zebra swallowtail
If you’re not sure where to start, the Audubon Society has a helpful search that tells you what plants are native to your area.
Why Plant Bird-Friendly Gardens?
Successful bird-friendly gardens are also gardens that thoroughly integrate native plants. This is eco-friendly for a variety of reasons. As mentioned, hardier plants means depending less on chemicals as well as reducing water use. The combination of reduced water use and pesticides means there’s also less runoff that’s carrying chemicals into the water supply.
Another benefit is that many birds consume different types of weed seeds, naturally preventing your garden being overrun by weeds while also providing a food source for the birds. This can be critical as their natural habitats become increasingly threatened.
If you’ve been thinking about sprucing up your yard (or balcony) with some new greenery, we encourage you to grow bird-friendly plants. This earth-friendly method helps maintain the wildlife population, encourage biodiversity, and beautify your home!
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