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Hello Bird-Friendly Spaces Member,
Migratory birds have moved on, chicks from local breeding birds are starting to appear, and our gardens are bustling with life. With so much activity around us, the hot summer weather won't stop us from taking our bird-friendly actions!This month, we look at the ways we can control pests without pesticides and take a tour of our first paved patio Space of the Month. We hope this newsletter inspires you to continue to take bird-friendly actions throughout your life!

Bird-Friendly Topics

Pestering Pests Without Pesticides
Action: Avoid pesticides. When we use pesticides to reduce pest species in our space, we are also harming the beneficial insects, pollinators, and birds who come in contact with that pesticide. Even pests play a role in our environment as a food source for other animals, and one of the ways to reduce pests without pesticides is by attracting natural predators. Consider building a bat house to attract our nocturnal pest controllers! According to Bat Conservation International, a single bat will eat up to half of its body weight in insects each night, including mosquitoes and otherĀ damaging pests. A peer-reviewed studyĀ conducted inĀ Medina and Uvalde Counties found that Brazilian free-tailed bats were able to track and exploit crop infestations of the destructive Corn Earworm Moth.
Action: Plant native plants. Bats are fantstic nighttime pest controllers, but there are a variety of daytime predators ready and waiting to feed on the pests in your garden. Native plants can attract native predators like ladybugs, lacewings, and hummingbirds. Consider planting native species like lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) to bring the ladybugs and lacewings to your yard and coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) for hummingbirds. There are plenty of other native plants that will attract birds and insects that hunt pests, and we recommend that you consult your local natives nursery volunteers for more ideas. It is important to include a variety of native plant species in your garden to attract the most native pollinators and insects for a healthy ecosystem!
Native Plants for a Bird-Friendly Space
Planting native plants is one of the most important things you can do to establish a healthy habitat. While each space is unique, so is each plant. Consider the following native plants for your space!
I have a sunny yard:
Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
A vine that will climb fences or sprawl across the ground. Its fruit attracts birds and it is the larval host plant for gulf fritillary, zebra longwing, red-banded hairstreak, and more.
I have a shady yard:
Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
A clump-forming grass with drooping oat-like seedheads that turn into a soft brown during the fall and winter months. Seeds are consumed by small mammals and birds, and it is the host plant for skipper butterflies.
I have a container garden:
Texas Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)
This plant will grow over the edges of pots or hanging baskets for a beautiful cascading effect. It does well in sunny to part-shade areas and attracts a variety of pollinators. It is the larval host plant for phaon crescent and white peacock butterflies.

Space of the Month

Theresa Creel
Did you know that you do not need a yard or an in-ground garden to become a bird-friendly space? Theresa has creatively transformed her paved patio into a beautiful space that supports pollinators and birds, showing that you do not need a lawn to create a bird-friendly habitat! She has filled her patio with native plants potted in containers and installed a water fountain and bird feeders to attract more birds. One of the things we love most about Theresa's space is that she has a love for cats, but she also understands the threat that outdoor cats pose to birds and other wildlife (not to mention the threats to cats themselves when left outside unsupervised!). She has taken careful precaution to keep her cat indoors to protect both the birds and her adored cat.
Here is what Theresa has to say about her space:
"I strive to create a space geared for hummingbirds and pollinators. Even though I have no yard and only a patio, it's possible to create a space with containers. I also have a bubbling water bath and a hummingbird feeder. Plants include coneflower, salvia, milkweed, cestrum, Turks cap, Texas sage, flame acanthus, and zinnia. I also keep my cat indoors and go on birding trips when I can. I really enjoy creating a bird friendly space, and always look for small ways to improve or plant more native plants each year."
Whether you have a large yard, paved patio like Theresa, or no outdoor space at all, there are actions that everyone can take to support birds and become a bird-friendly space! A big thank you to Theresa for showing us that we do not need a yard to be bird-friendly, and a second big thank you for making Houston a safer place for birds!

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Thank you for being a member of the Bird-Friendly Spaces Program. We hope you find joy in supporting wildlife through your space!Ā 
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