Getting ready to start work on the garden and yard work soon? Please consider using and decorating with plants, trees and wildflowers native to your geographical region. Here’s why it is so important– the birds and animals in your area have adapted to native plants over thousands of years and are dependent on them. Overrunning the landscape with non-native plants, trees and ornamentals can seriously impact the native wildlife’s food chain and resources.
“Because native insects did not evolve with nonnative plants, most of them lack the ability to overcome the plants’ chemical defenses so cannot eat them. Caterpillars, a particularly important food source for birds, are especially picky about what they feed on. Like the famous monarch butterfly larva, which must have milkweed to survive, more than 90 percent of moth and butterfly caterpillars eat only particular native plants or groups of plants.”
— Laura Tangley, National Wildlife Federation article.
And of course, the birds feed on the insects feeding on the plants. Not only are the insects directly affected, but the pollinators and those that feed on the insects as well, right up the food chain. As more and more imported varieties and ornamentals crowd out native plants, the birds, pollinators and wildlife have an increasingly difficult time. That plant at the nursery might be pretty, but is there another native to the area that might work just as well or better? Check it out. The birds and wildlife will thank you for it!
For more information and to read the article in entirety → “Chickadees Show Why Birds Need Native Trees”
Thanks as always for reading. — Jim (and Red!)