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National Audubon Society Launches ‘Plants for Birds’ Campaign

Patterson Park Audubon Center has recognized Teressa Carter's garden in Baltimore as Bird-Friendly Home Habitat. (Erin Reed/Patterson Park Audubon)
Patterson Park Audubon Center has recognized Teressa Carter's garden in Baltimore as Bird-Friendly Home Habitat. (Erin Reed/Patterson Park Audubon)
March 19, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Spring is just a few days away, and the National Audubon Society is promoting plant growth that will help animals that roam the skies.

The "Plants for Birds" campaign is asking people across the nation to help grow 1 million native plants over the next year. The organization wants those who do plant to make sure the plants are native to that specific location, so they can provide the most resources for birds that are looking to nest or feed.

Dr. John Rowden, director of community conservation with the Audubon Society, said besides providing nesting materials and potential locations for birds to make a home, the plants indirectly help with their food supply.

"Native plants host native insects, and there's a really close connection between insects and plants,” Rowden said. “And insects are incredibly important to bird species, particularly when they're raising their babies."

The National Audubon Society has created a database that people can access to see which plants are native in their area and which are most bird-friendly. All that's needed is a ZIP code. Learn more at audubon.org.

As urbanization continues and more buildings and houses are constructed, more habitat for birds is lost. According to Audubon's Bird and Climate Change Study, more than half of North American bird species are threatened by climate change and could lose more than 50 percent of their habitats within this century.

The Audubon Society says planting native grasses, shrubs and trees reduces emissions that cause climate change, and grow the amount of places that birds need to thrive. Rowden said on top of helping these animals, native plants also are easier to maintain than plants that are foreign to the area.

"And if you use native plants because they're well adapted to our local conditions, they don't need a lot of maintenance, they don't need a lot of care once they're established,” he said. “They don't need a lot of water when they're established because they're adapted to survive on the water that comes naturally in the area."

According to the Audubon Society, 56 million Americans mow 40 million acres of grass each week in the spring and summer, amounting to an area eight times bigger than New Jersey. They hope this campaign can help cut down on those numbers a bit while providing new homes and protection for our feathered friends.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD