Backyard Birding

Native Plants Help North Carolina Birds

common yellowthroat

Audubon North Carolina has launched the Local Roots program to encourage use of native plants that specifically benefit birds. From the mountains to the coast, they are partnering with local plant nurseries and growers to offer more bird-friendly native plants while creating a local base of buyers seeking native plants for cities, towns and backyards across the state.

Growing more native plants helps birds with food and shelter as their natural habitats continue to disappear. Local Roots specifically targets landscape architects, city planners, home gardeners and bird watchers.

Native plants are important to birds because of the insects. Almost all land birds require insects to feed their young. Even seed-eating birds often must feed their babies insects to ensure their survival. Insects cannot adapt to eating non-native plants. Less native plants means less insects, which in turn means fewer bird babies growing to adulthood.

The organization has produced native plant brochures and growing guides for the coastal, Piedmont and mountain regions that include dozens of plant suggestions for larval host plants, berry-producing plants, seed/nut-producing plants, and nectar-producing plants. The guides are available in English and Spanish. A separate list of over 400 bird-friendly native plants is also available. All guides and brochures can be downloaded at Audubon North Carolina.