June 2019

Vol. 47, No. 3

Zaps: 47-3

Zaps are notes of awareness and pleas for action that appear in the corresponding print edition of Bird Observer. Here they are from the current issue.

Transform Your Yard and Community Into An Oasis for Birds & Insects

Audubon’s Plants for Birds shows how individuals can help birds adapt to changing habitats with bird-friendly, native plants.

NEW YORK (May 2, 2019)— “From a changing climate to habitat loss from urban development, birds are constantly facing a myriad of challenges to find natural spaces to rest and fuel up to complete their migration journeys,” said John Rowden, director of community conservation at the National Audubon Society. “A clutch of baby chickadees eats up to 9,000 insects between hatching and fledging. As we approach nesting season for many backyard birds, you can help feed baby birds by planting native plants in your yard or on your patios.”

Users simply type in their zip code to search Audubon’s Native Plants Database which offers a free online tool to discover the bird-friendly plants, trees, shrubs and grasses that are native to their region and locate a local supplier to start or grow their own backyard bird oasis.

Not only are native plants good for birds and the insects birds feed on, they are good for people, too. Native plants require less maintenance than exotic plants and they help the environment because they need less water and don’t require synthetic fertilizer or pesticides.

With support from the Coleman and Susan Burke Center for Native Plants, Audubon works with local chapters to launch Audubon’s Plants for Birds in communities across the country.

  • Become a Habitat Hero Anywhere:
    Audubon Rockies shows that anyone can create a bird-friendly garden to help reduce one of the biggest threats birds face – habitat loss. Regardless of gardening ability and access to land, the “Habitat Hero” program helps anyone create a garden of native plants that offers food and shelter for birds and makes the community healthier.
  • Transform Urban Concrete to a Green Space for Birds & People:
    Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society in Asheville, N.C., exemplifies how native plant gardens provide refuge for birds and people. The Audubon chapter collaborated with a local church and groups to transform an abandoned concrete lot into an urban "Friendship Garden" also known as "Jardin de la Amistad" that has drawn in birds and people, alike.
  • Restoration with a Twist to Encourage New Environmental Stewards:
    Seward Park Audubon Center in Seattle, Wash. set out to spice up conservation with a summer series of events called “Restoration with a Twist” that enlisted volunteers to help remove invasive plants that were harming the native plant communities. With the promise of a foraged-cocktail happy hour, the summer series helped restore Seward’s ecosystem while nurturing human connections and new nature lovers.

Already have a thriving bird-friendly garden with frequent feathered visitors or just finished yours? Download the freeAudubon Bird Guide App for an interactive bird ID tool to help you easily identify the birds outside your window. The newest “Bird Alert” feature will even provide a real-time notification when a selected bird is spotted nearby, so you won’t miss that elusive “life bird” again.

To learn how to make your yard more climate friendly, check out Audubon’s five-part series of guides on how to manage your outdoor turf to reduce your carbon footprint, all while creating bird-friendly habitat.

If you’re interested in “Plants for Birds” programs happening near you, find your local Audubon chapter to learn what they have coming up at

For more tips on gardening and planting with bird-friendly plants, visit

About National Audubon Society

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more how to help at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

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