North Carolina Gardeners Grow Local Program to Help Birds Thrive

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (March 8, 2016) Following a successful launch in 2015, Audubon North Carolina’s Bird-Friendly Communities program continues to grow building connections between gardeners, bird lovers, and plant nurseries, all to benefit our state’s beautiful and diverse bird populations.

Bird-friendly native plants are a key piece of Audubon NC’s Bird-Friendly Communities conservation effort to support imperiled birds in North Carolina. One of the 2016 featured plants, American Beautyberry, provides berries that offer a perfect fuel to migrating Black-throated Blue Warblers as they pass through NC. Research shows that migration is the most hazardous time of these birds’ lives. Providing more fuel could help more of these birds survive to better sustain the population over time.

“Over thousands of generations, birds have adapted to the native plants found in North Carolina, feeding on the native insects and berries supported by these plants,” said Director of Land Bird Conservation Curtis Smalling. “By growing natives from Audubon NC’s curated list, gardeners have a great opportunity to help the birds they love while supporting local businesses and nurserymen participating in the program.”

In one year, Audubon NC saw tremendous success in the effort to spark and sustain a thriving bird-friendly native plant economy. To date, 500 citizens, about 70 retail partners and 2 municipalities have signed-on to join the program and commit to growing and planting bird-friendly native plants recommended by the organization.

Most recently, the City of Winston-Salem and the Forsyth County Governments updated each community’s Suggested Plant Material List to include more bird-friendly native plants. The lists will serve as guides used by developers and builders, and by city and county inspectors in approving site plans for plantings.

“More dedicated participants are joining the program every day, which means more bird-friendly native plants are being grown and more birds will have the food they need to thrive,” said Audubon NC Executive Director Heather Hahn. “By working with local nurseries and educating our wide network of supporters, we’ve increased the supply, demand and availability for bird-friendly native plants; benefitting our local birds in an important and meaningful way.“

Audubon North Carolina has created a list of plants curated by bird and native-plant experts to offer a range of plants that offer the food birds need during each season, as well as a statewide list of nurseries offering these bird-friendly native plants.

Visit the Audubon NC website to learn more about the Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year program and to find a local bird-friendly plant retailer visit nc.audubon.org

###

About Audubon North Carolina

With a century of conservation history in North Carolina, Audubon strives to conserve and restore the habitats we share with all wildlife, focusing on the needs of birds. Audubon North Carolina achieves its mission through a blend of science-based research and conservation, education and outreach, and advocacy. Audubon North Carolina has offices in Corolla, Boone, Wilmington and Chapel Hill. Learn more at nc.audubon.org and @audubonnc.

Media Contact: 

Karen Fernandez, Audubon North Carolina, kfernandez@audubon.org, 919-929-3899

Mary Alice Holley, BC/DC Ideas, maryalice@bcdcideas.com, 919-864-0428