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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

BIRIDNOTE®: Bird Habitat at Home

Air Date: Week of

A black-capped chickadee perches on a tree branch. (Photo: Colin Durfee, CC)

Cultivating natural habitat for native birds can help combat biodiversity loss, as Ariana Remmel reports in today’s BirdNote.


CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Steve Curwood.

O’NEILL: And I’m Aynsley O’Neill.


O’NEILL: One way to help combat biodiversity loss in your own backyard is to cultivate the kind of natural habitat that backyard feeder birds can make into a home. BirdNote’s Ariana Remmel has the story.

Creating Bird Habitat at Home

One of the biggest threats to birds is the decline in biodiversity due to habitat loss — and the traditional, manicured lawn isn’t helping.

[Black-capped Chickadee call, ML 202239]

Even birds who visit backyard feeders — like these Black-capped Chickadees — need a healthy mix of seeds, berries, and insects often found on the native plants we villainize as “weeds” when they grow in our lawns, says ecologist Douglas Tallamy.

Doug Tallamy: We have more than 40 million acres of lawn in the US, which is the size of New England. And that's an ecological deadscape.
[Deciduous Forest Morning Songbirds]
That means one of the easiest ways to protect birds at home is to grow native plants, says Tallamy, who co-founded an organization called Homegrown National Park® to help people transform their lawns into havens for wildlife.

Doug Tallamy: And I’d love people to stop looking at their yard as an isolated ecosystem, it's part of a neighborhood. And somebody who's got a sunny spot down the street, but no trees? Okay, that's where the pollinator gardens go. Somebody who's got a giant oak and is overspreading two or three yards? That's great! That's going to provide a lot of resources for many of the houses in that yard. So look at your neighborhood as an entire local ecosystem and see what the total resources are.

A black-capped chickadee bites down on a seed. (Photo: Tom Murray, CC)

Reducing your lawn to make room for native plants is a small step forward —

Doug Tallamy: But imagine if everybody did this. This is why we call the Homegrown National Park® movement a grassroots movement, it's a call to action.

To learn more about Homegrown National Park®, start at our website: BirdNote dot org.

[Black-capped Chickadee call, ML 202239]

Written by Ariana Remmel
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Black-capped Chickadee ML 202239 recorded by J. McGowan. Morning Songbirds recorded by Gordon Hempton.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote March 2022 Narrator: Ariana Remmel
ID # hnp-01-2022-03-21 hnp-01




Learn more on the BirdNote® webpage


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