ven if you live in an apartment,townhouse,orcondominium development without muchspace for landscaping,the right mix of ingredi-ents on a balcony,patio,terrace,or rooftop can bean oasis that provides food and rest for wildlife in anurban concrete desert.Coordinated efforts by neigh-bors can transform an entire multi-unit building orcomplex into a thriving urban habitat that is part of alarger living landscape.
A small urban setting can still contribute to theconservation of birds,while creating a richer placethat is full of life and energy,takes the edge off ahectic urban world,and connects your home withthe natural world.Inviting birds to your patio,terrace,or balcony may be as simple as creating agreen space that stands out.Birdscape your singledwelling,several units,or an entire building complexby providing birds with plants for food and shelter,feeders,a nest box,and a source of fresh water.Tryto provide these basic needs for locally commonnative birds,additional species you’d like to attract,and other birds that need the most help in yourarea.Consider providing native flowers and a feederfor hummingbirds.
Cities often support more individual birds thansuburban or rural areas.However,these abundanturban birds are mostly House Sparrows,EuropeanStarlings,and Rock Pigeons—highly adaptableEuropean species that have learned to thrive inurban settings.By covering or replacing barepavement and buildings with native trees,bushes,and wildflowers,urban areas—including apartmentcomplexes—can attract a wider range of native birdspecies and can serve as valuable habitat for birdsmigrating through the city.For more information onhow you can attractnative birds to your apartment,condominium,or townhouse,visitwww.audubonathome.org/apartment.
The United States is home to 47 bat species,andbats are often found in urban areas,where they mayhunt for insects attracted to streetlights.In moresuburban settings,bats may live around multi-unitdwellings,finding their insect prey over open fieldsand waterways.Bats that roost in crevices may takeadvantage of a bat house placed at a height of 10feetor higher on a structure that faces themorning sun.For more information,visitwww.audubonathome.org/bats.
A patch of bright-colored flowers in a sea of con-crete can serve as a magnet for butterflies.Makeyour patio,balcony,or small yard explode with color.Paint flowerpots yellow,orange,and red and plantthem with colorful native flowers.Butterflies mayalso come to drinking water placed for them in ashallow bowl filled with pebbles and water,or drink nectar from an artificial butterfly feeder.For moreinformation on attracting butterflies,visitwww.audubonathome.org/butterflies.
Most of the bees that pollinate native plants do notlive together in hives.Many of these native solitarybees are declining,but you may be able to help themby building a bee box.Simply drill small holes into anuntreated block of wood,or tie a bundle of driedstems together and place them outdoors.Solitarybees will lay their eggs in the holes,which thenserveas a nursery.For more information onhowtohelp these beneficial insects,visitwww.audubonathome.org/solitarybees.
In a small urban habitat,flowerpots,wall-mountedplanter boxes,and hanging plants can add interestand accommodate a variety of plants that may attractbirds and butterflies.Consult with your local nativeplant society to learn which native plants work bestin containers.As a general rule,bigger containers arebetter and give roots room to grow.Always includea bottom layer of rocks or pieces of broken pots forgood drainage and to guard against overwatering.
Share your enthusiasm for your bird and butterflyoasis to initiate positive change within yourcommunity.Get together with your neighbors andform a cooperative “gardening for wildlife” group.Surround your building with greenery and enjoy yournew bird and butterfly neighbors.Take this poster toa homeowner’s association meeting and offer yourideas as inspiration.If you live in a high-rise building,promote dimming nighttime lights during migrationto avoid attracting migratory birds that may becomedisoriented and collide with lighted buildings andwindows.Plan your landscaping to complementnearby natural areas,and get adjacent landownerstojoin your efforts as well.For more informationonworking together to help birds and otherwildlifeinyour community,visitwww.audubonathome.org/neighborhood.
Create and maintain a healthy environment for you,your family,and local wildlife by pledging to:
Reduce pesticide use
Protect water quality
Remove invasive exotic plants
Plant native species
Support wildlife on your property
Visit www.audubonathome.org/pledge tomake the pledge online.
CREATING A HEALTHY APARTMENT OR TOWNHOUSE
website<www.audubonathome.org> contains a wealth of information and downloadable resources to helpyou plan and develop your property in a wildlife-friendly way.You’ll find regional resources andinformation about the birds,other wildlife,andnative plants in your area.