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Choosing Plants for Birds: Be Beak Specific

Bird enthusiasts often flock to Dyck Arboretum to observe birds in our prairie, woodlands, and pond. In fact, Dyck Arboretum has been a data collection site for the Halstead-Newton Christmas Bird Count for 20+ years. Many FloraKansas patrons ask about how to attract more birds to their own landscapes, and the answer is simple: provide food, water and shelter!

The Arboretum is a hot spot for birds because of the density of native plants on our grounds providing excellent habitat. Birds spend most of their lives looking for food, so add plants to your landscape that produce berries, seeds, nuts, and nectar. A birdfeeder is nice, but native plants will provide fresher sources of nutrition at the appropriate time of year. Each bird, with its specially evolved beak, has favorite food sources that fit its skillset. Try some of the food plants shown above to increase the avian diversity of your neighborhood!

Zizia and sumac to attract caterpillars (nesting birds need thousands of insects to feed the young).

Interested in helping birds even more? Join the Halstead-Newton Christmas Bird Count, conducted each year on the Saturday closest to the winter solstice, and help to gather data about bird populations in our area.

And join us and our friends from Kauffman Museum on Saturday, March 2nd, for a spring symposium entitled “Murmurations & Exaltations: Birds & Birding in a Changing World.” We will start the morning with a bird walk, come inside for breakfast and conversation, and then hear presentations from three of our state’s top bird experts!