Pomona Valley Audubon
|The Bird Friendly Community
by DAN GUTHRIE
Audubon in California is actively involved in protecting the remaining vestiges of good habitat within the state from development, so that our native wildlife will have homes. However, much of our state, and Southern California in particular, is totally developed. This land, our suburbs, will never be returned to native habitat, yet once these lands on which we now live served as resting places for migrants and wintering species. We all know that in April and May, Western Tanagers, Thrushes and Warblers pass through Claremont, resting and feeding in our yards. During the winter, we host Waxwings, Siskins, Yellow-rumped Warblers and White-crowned Sparrows, and this year, Red-crossbills. These wintering and migrant species cannot survive on pristine habitat alone; there isn't enough of it. They must depend in part on areas such as Claremont -- the suburbs.
Are there ways in which we can make our town a more "bird-friendly" community? Jesse Grantham spoke at our December meeting about planting flowers and shrubs that provide food for birds. Rich Stallcup, in a recent Point Reyes Bird Observatory Newsletter, pointed out that many of our native species feed on the blossoms of eucalyptus trees. However, eucalyptus is a 'gummy' plant. Whereas native Australian birds that feed on eucalyptus have long bills to keep their faces out of the flowers, our native birds have short bills. Species such as Warblers and Kinglets get their feathers around their face sticky and may even clog their nostrils with the eucalyptus gum, causing death. Would it not make since to plant species that provide safe food for birds rather than species that provide nothing or can be death traps? During the Christmas Census I was struck by a small area of penstemon and sage planted next to the road just south of Honnold Library of the Claremont Colleges. In this patch were a Lincoln's Sparrow and two Orange-crowned Warblers, both hard species to find elsewhere. A few good plants can be very attractive.
There are other things we can do. Bird Houses, Hawk silhouettes on windows to prevent birds from hitting glass, and control of house cats, are but a few possibilities. I would like to see our Audubon Chapter work toward making Claremont and our other communities models of being "Wildlife Friendly". There is also something in which everyone can be involved. I would like our chapter to develop a packet for homeowners outlining how they can make their yard more bird friendly and for cities as to how they can make their street plantings and parks better places for wildlife. We would love to have volunteers to work on this project.
|Ingredients for a Bird Friendly Community
Not Start With a Simple Birdfeeder?
a Hummingbird Garden
Host a Bluebird
Got Birds? Great, Now Add Some Finishing Touches...
a Butterfly Garden