Native plant habitat a wild bird’s best friend

Steve and Martha Ellis aren’t involved about wild birds going hungry of their yard.

When the Coupeville couple discovered a few lethal salmonellosis outbreak amongst native hen populations this winter that led to a suggestion by the Washington Division of Fish and Wildlife to take down hen feeders and hen baths, they didn’t fear. Steve and Martha are longtime birders who care deeply about birds and different wild creatures and their habitat.

Their property, simply shy of an acre, supplies many various native plantings that wild birds use for meals and shelter.

“Birds merely don’t require supplemental feeding, offering there’s an abundance of native timber and shrubs,” Steve Ellis mentioned.

Resulting from continued reviews of sick and dying birds in a number of Washington counties, WDFW prolonged its advisory to maintain down yard feeders and baths via April 1 or take additional steps to take care of them similar to each day cleansing. Past that?

“It’s actually arduous to say,” mentioned Kristin Mansfield, a state Wildlife veterinarian. “Our hope is that we see a big lower in reviews of sick and useless birds, which we do count on to occur as pure meals sources change into obtainable and birds start to unfold out extra.”

Spring couldn’t come quickly sufficient this yr, not for simply the birds, however the many nature lovers involved about them.

“I might counsel that feeding throughout a chilly snap or a snow occasion does save many lives,” Steve Ellis mentioned. “The warming climate of March is certain to supply giant populations of protein-rich invertebrates for the birds to munch on.”

Supporting nature conservation organizations similar to Whidbey Camano Land Belief is a technique to assist be certain that forests, wetlands, and different pure areas stay havens for birds, pollinators and different wildlife. The Land Belief not solely preserves lands with an abundance of native vegetation, however workers and volunteers additionally re-introduce native timber and shrubs throughout restoration and stewardship efforts.

One instance is on the Land Belief’s Crockett Lake Protect, the place red-flowering currant, snowberry, Indian plum, Pacific crab apple and different native vegetation have been planted in locations the place non-native invasive species have been eliminated.

Implementing native vegetation into your individual panorama is one other method to assist wild creatures.

“Planting native vegetation that produce seeds and/or fruits is one of the best help we are able to present,” mentioned Jay Adams, a Land Belief board member who’s been birding for 45 years. “Additionally, it’s essential to help the conservation and safety of essential native habitat – woodlands, grasslands, wetlands, marshy locations and seashores. This supplies year-round birds and migratory species the area they should set up territories and feed and relaxation as they fly between their wintering and breeding grounds.”

Steve and Martha Ellis retained or planted many native timber and shrubs on their wooded property and have seen no less than 65 totally different wild hen species.

“Crimson alders are fingers down crucial,” Steve mentioned. “They produce prodigious quantities of seeds and their leaves keep on a very long time. The latter helps invertebrates, which in flip, feeds birds. The massive Pine Siskin flocks scatter all through the alders to eat seeds in order that they aren’t concentrated at a feeder.”

Steve Ellis mentioned he understands there’s a pure longing to need to assist birds by offering meals.

“The actual purpose we feed is as a result of individuals have a deep eager for connections to wild creatures, so we invite birds into our managed areas via the usage of feeders,” he mentioned. “Once we retain or replant native flora, we’re those being invited into nature.”

Whidbey Camano Land Belief is a nonprofit nature conservation group that actively includes the group in defending, restoring, and appreciating the essential pure habitats and useful resource lands that help the variety of life on our islands and within the waters of Puget Sound.

For extra info, go to, e mail to or name 360.222.3310.

A Home Wren grubs down on a pure meals supply. Picture by Jann Ledbetter

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