For the second year in a row, the U.S. Senate has designated April as National Native Plant Month. Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) co-sponsored the resolution to recognize the importance of native plants to wildlife, people, the environment, and the economy of the United States. Here at Audubon, we recognize the critical role that native plants play in providing habitat for birds and other wildlife and promote their use through our Plants for Birds program.
The reason native plants are better for birds is because they evolved in the landscape together and are important components of the web of life that naturally exists in an area. Plants support birds and other wildlife directly by producing fruit, seeds, and nectar with nutrient profiles that are better matched to the nutritional needs of our native birds than non-native plant species. Additionally, plants are critical hosts of insects throughout their life cycles, and insects – particularly caterpillars – feed the babies of 96 percent of our native land birds.
Audubon is working across the U.S. to make native plants the first choice for planting in our communities. Our network of chapters, centers, sanctuaries, and state offices are pursuing policy changes across the landscape – from the local to the federal level – to raise awareness about the importance of native plants, make native plants more available to consumers, and encourage the use of native plants everywhere across the country.
Last year, Audubon’s network succeeded at passing native plant proclamations, resolutions, and ordinances from coast to coast – moving the needle on native plants for homeowners’ associations, municipalities, counties, and states. We are building on those successes in 2022 and continuing to advocate for native plants through legislative, executive, and regulatory actions.
Everyone across the country can help in this effort. Reach out to your local Audubon chapter or center to learn about their efforts to support the use of native plants in your area. And whatever space you have – be it a windowsill, balcony, patio, or expansive yard - can become better for birds by including native plants. Audubon has a handy native plants database that can tell you what plants are native to your area, what birds those plants may support, and where you can purchase native plants nearby.
During National Native Plant Month, we encourage everyone to think about how they can provide sustaining habitat for birds across America by using native plants.