Grow Native for Birds This September
By Jared Teutsch, Executive Director
This September, Georgia Audubon will observe the fifth annual Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month, a month-long celebration of the inherent connection between Georgia’s native plants and birds. This year’s celebration will include a variety of workshops and events designed to help Georgians learn more about gardening for birds and other wildlife using native plants.
“When it comes to the types of plants that are best for Georgia’s birds, native plants are far better than non-native plants,” says Adam Betuel, Georgia Audubon director of conservation. “As urbanization increases and natural habitats disappear, it is more important than ever that we intentionally include more native plants in our landscapes. Because native trees and shrubs evolved with local wildlife, they harbor more insects and yield more nutritious berries and fruits than non-native varieties. From adding native plants in pots on your balcony to reducing turf grass and planting native trees and shrubs in your yard, planting natives can have far reaching benefits for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. It’s something each of us can do in our own landscapes to aid bird conservation efforts.”
During Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month, Georgia Audubon will host a number of virtual and in-person events to educate the public about the importance of native plants to birds, including:
- Fall Native Plant Sale (Atlanta and Athens) – Georgia Audubon and Oconee Rivers Audubon, in Athens, will collaborate on a fall native plant sale. We will partner with Beech Hollow Wildlife Farms to bring you a large selection of bird-friendly, native plants for your landscape. Visit https://www.georgiaaudubon.org/plant-sales.html to view available plants or to place your order beginning August 30.
- Wildlife Sanctuary Tour, Saturday, September 10, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Atlanta)
Georgia Audubon will host an in-person Wildlife Sanctuary Tour on Saturday, September 10, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. This year’s tour will feature five properties in DeKalb and Fulton counties. Join us to gain inspiration on how you can transform your yard into a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. Each property featured has been certified by Georgia Audubon as a Wildlife Sanctuary because it provides four essential criteria for attracting birds and other wildlife: food sources (at least 50% native plants), nesting sites, shelter, and water sources.
- Free Webinar: Reflections from a Bird Bath: What Game Cameras Can Teach Us About Fruit Eating Birds, Thursday, September 15, at 7:00 PM – Join ecologist Jim Ferrari as he describes his seven-year study of seed deposition to the bird bath in his Macon, Georgia, yard. Jim collects seeds, records the visiting birds, and (for the past year) has trained a game camera on his bird bath to learn more about seed dispersal by birds. Themes covered in the talk include seasonality of fruit production, native vs. non-native plants, which bird species have the broadest fruit diet, and more
- Free Webinar: Creating a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary, Tuesday, September 20, at 7:00 PM – Learn how to promote the conservation and well-being of birds and other wildlife in your green space. We will cover everything from food, water, and shelter to keeping wildlife safe. Whether you are an experienced gardener and birder or just getting started, there will be something for you to learn. Get connected to resources that can help you on your journey, and learn how you can get your space certified as a Georgia Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Plant ID Workshop at Henderson Park (Tucker), Thursday, September 22, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM – Join Georgia Audubon’s Habitat Program Manager, Gabe Andrle, for a beginner plant identification workshop where you will learn how to identify some of the most common native and non-native plant species of the metro Atlanta area. No experience is necessary. You will leave equipped with the basics for starting to understand what plants shape the many amazing ecosystems that birds rely on for survival. Learn more or register at www.georgiaaudubon.org/georgia-grows-native-for-birds-month.
- Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month Closing Celebration: Birds and the Undiscovered World, with Kenn Kaufman, Sunday, September 25, from 3:00 to 5:30 PM, at Monday Night Garage (Atlanta) – Join us for the Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month Closing Celebration featuring Kenn Kaufman, author, conservatist, and birding legend, as he gives the keynote address on Birds and the Undiscovered World. The advances of modern science, and the reality of instant global communication, may lead us to assume that everything in our world is well known. But this is an illusion: in fact, the unknown is all around us, beginning right outside our doors. A close look at the world of birds and nature is enough to remind us that we are still surrounded by fascinating mysteries. Kenn Kaufman will draw on the adventures of his own life to talk about the unknown realms of nature, the potential for discovery, and the power of personal observation to rekindle our sense of wonder.
About the speaker: Kenn Kaufman became fascinated with birds by the age of six. As a professional tour guide, he led birding tour groups to all seven continents, but today he works as an artist, writer, and editor. He has written 13 books about birds and nature, including Kingbird Highway, Lives of North American Birds, and his own series of nature guides, Kaufman Field Guides, now published by HarperCollins. His most recent book is A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration, published in 2019. Kenn is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, a Field Editor for the National Audubon Society, and an official “birding expert” for Birds & Blooms magazine.
Learn more or register for these events at www.georgiaaudubon.org/georgia-grows-native-for-birds-month.