Birds that live around north Texas NEED native plants. They eat the fruit and seeds when native plants produce them. The birds use the bark, leaves and such from native plants for nesting material. Over the ages they’ve synchronized all their living activities with what has been naturally growing around here for thousands of years. Over the ages, the plants have also adjusted when they go to seed etc. – the result is a larger growing area. Many hundreds of generations of plants and birds have done this instinctively!
One example out of many: native plants like lantana bloom profusely as summer wanes and fall looms. Lantana flowers are particularly laden with sugary nectar. Our native Hummingbirds depend on this abundance, which comes precisely when they’re “bulking up” for their annual migration to the south.
Another example: Yaupon Hollies produce berries in fall and early winter - just as Cedar Waxwings and Cardinals are looking for food. Hence, berries (containing seeds) are distributed widely at Texas’ optimum planting time.
Imagine their confusion if all they see are exotic plants that are native to Japan, or Madagascar…or anywhere but here. Those exotic plants may make pretty flowers, but are probably worthless to our birds, who go to another yard.
A few north Texas birds that need native plants: Common Yellowthroat, N. Cardinal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird
We’re entering the period of fall migration. Birds from all over migrate to the south – many passing through north Texas on the Central Flyway, as they’ve done for thousands of years. Waystations along the migration route are important, for the migrating birds to rest up for a few days and refuel. A backyard waystation full of native plants and other food sources is a great way to see some unusual birds.
Denton’s Wild Bird Center