By Mary Free, Certified Master Gardener
This Virginia Cooperative Extension publication examines the habitat requirements for butterflies and birds common to our local area. In fact, most of the plants and wildlife were photographed in Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax, Virginia.
Creating Inviting Habitats is especially relevant during National Pollinator Week — June 18–24 — as well as in the 100th year of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The centennial anniversary of this act has prompted National Geographic, Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International to designate 2018 the Year of the Bird. They have teamed together with more than 150 organizations to share information on how our changing environment affects birds and actions you can take each month to help and protect birds.
One way you can help both birds and butterflies is to create inviting habitats on your property where they can thrive. How do you attract birds and butterflies to your yard or garden? Like people, birds and butterflies require food, water,and shelter. Like people, they prefer their food and water be close to where they live. And like people, they favor certain types of homes and certain types of food. If you plant to meet their needs, they will flock or flutter to your garden.
Besides information on native plants that attract birds and butterflies, Creating Inviting Habitats provides an overview of planning your garden space to accommodate them as well as additional resources and references. It is available in PDF, ePub and iBook formats from Virginia Cooperative Extension or can be downloaded free on iTunes.