Plants For Birds

Nectar-slurpers love the bright flowers of this native coral bean. Photo: Will Stuart

Ranges for South Carolina’s birds are shrinking and shifting due to climate change.  Shrinking ranges are an obvious threat.  But even a shift can be hazardous, introducing birds to new predators and/or eliminating food sources. 

That's why it's so important to landscape with native plants.  Plants indigenous to our region provide just the right smorgasbord of insects, flowers, and berries to help climate-stressed birds become more resilient to changing weather patterns.  

Native plants have more subtle benefits too.  Their deep root systems – really deep compared to turf grass – restore healthy soils.  Healthy soils not only absorb stormwater, providing protection from floods; they also absorb or "sequester" carbon, which actually slows climate change.

So hey  how native is your backyard?  In urban and suburban areas, more than 80 percent of plants are exotic species.  Cities and suburbs now cover 10 to 15 percent of South Carolina, and growing.  If homeowners, developers, and landscapers statewide decided to "go native," we could ensure the survival of literally millions of birds.

So let’s get started . . . yesterday!  Check out the beautiful plants that are native to your area.  Investigate South Carolina’s native nurseries.  And please let us know if there's anything we can do to help you make the switch!

PROJECT CONTACT:  Matt Johnson, mgjohnson@audugon.org.

See the turf grass on the far left, with its pathetic little roots? Compare it to native plants, whose super-deep root systems reduce flooding and help limit climate change. Illustration: Conservation Research Institute