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Landscaping with Native Plants: Support Your Local Birds

by Karen Lawson, All About Lawns Columnist

The Audubon Society estimates that 54 million households feed wild birds. Native plants provide a natural source of food and shelter for birds. You can attract birds by incorporating native plants by landscaping with native plants.

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Ground Cover and Low-Growing Shrubs

Native grasses ground covers, and shrubs can provide food and shelter for ground feeding birds including doves, and quail. Smaller birds including juncos, towhees and some sparrows typically forage in and around underbrush. Birds including robins, thrushes, and flickers extract worms, grubs and insects from the ground.

A Bounty for All

Many species of birds eat fruit, seeds and nuts from shrubs and trees. Landscaping with native plants should facilitate birds' recognition of food and shelter sources. Robins, orioles, bluebirds, mockingbirds and waxwings traditionally enjoy eating fruit. Although birds can damage fruit crops, please keep in mind that species that damage fruit also can consume destructive insect pests.

Bugged by bugs? Attract Nature's Pest Control Team

Tree dwelling birds including nuthatches,warblers, woodpeckers, and orioles can help control destructive pets by eating large quantities of insects, larvae and egg cases. Swallows and swifts catch insects while flying, and are usually attracted to moving water. Installing a water feature and allowing these birds to nest under eaves may bring them to your yard.

Wild birds can provide hours of enjoyment for you and your guests in your backyard. Contact a nursery or garden supplier familiar with native plants for planting recommendations.

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About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with an avid interest in gardening and horticulture. She earned BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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