By: Stacey Wildberger – October 2016
There are many reasons people choose to feed birds and create bird-friendly habitats in their own backyards: from aesthetics, connecting children with nature, and conservation, or just personal enjoyment of birds. While placing a few feeders around your yard is a good start, birds require more than just seed provided in a feeder. They need food, water, shelter and “greening”.
Did you know that 96% of birds rely on insects to raise their young, and it takes more than 5,000 caterpillars to raise one clutch of chickadees?! By growing native plants you can provide the needed food for adults as well as baby birds. Where do all those caterpillars come from that are needed to feed birds’ young? There are many native trees that support hundreds of species of caterpillars and other insects. Oaks support over 500 species of caterpillars, cherries and willows support over 450 species of caterpillars, and birches support over 400 species. Many native shrubs produce fruits that birds love, including blueberries, viburnums, chokeberry, hollies and winterberries.