Popular Science

These plants bring all the birds to your yard

Songbirds need bugs, and bugs need local greens.
chickadee eating caterpillar

Carolina chickadees depend on the availability of high-calorie, high-protein prey, such as caterpillars, for a healthy breeding season.

Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware

Like songbirds? Right, many people do. It’s a different story when it comes to insects. Mention caterpillars, for instance, to most gardeners, and you’ll have them squirming with horror. But backyard species like caterpillars and spiders actually play a crucial role in supporting our most beloved bird species. As a new study from University of Delaware postgraduate student Desirée Narango and coauthors demonstrates, native plant gardens are quite literally for the birds.

It’s the largest comprehensive study to date of the effect of

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