Native plants are for the birds

©Mark Moschell

A study of Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) in the Washington, D.C., metro area found that even a few nonnative plants can make it hard for native birds to survive. The study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at interactions between plants, arthropods and insectivorous birds in the backyards of citizen scientists. Researchers found that in areas where the native plant biomass was less than 70 percent, the chickadees failed to produce enough young to sustain their populations. The solution, researchers said, is to plant native. “We hear a lot in conservation that things are in trouble, and they are,” lead author Desirée Narango, told Smithsonian.com. “So I think this study is a nice example of something that we can actually do at home to make some positive ecological change.”

Read more from the Smithsonian here, or read the study here.