Thursday, March 21, 2013

Creating Bird-Friendly Urban Landscapes

After wintering thousands of miles south in Mexico or Central America, Baltimore orioles will soon show up in parks and backyards not only in Baltimore but across the eastern and central part of the country, where they breed and rear their young during summer.

Because orioles nest and forage for insects, fruit and nectar primarily in the canopy of deciduous trees, “they are more often heard than seen,” says Peter Marra, a research scientist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, D.C. “Yet the birds are relatively common in urban areas.” Marra encounters orioles regularly in his own leafy suburban yard about an hour south of Baltimore. 

“Traditionally, people tended to view metro areas like Baltimore as biological deserts,” says John Kostyack, NWF’s vice president for wildlife conservation. “But it turns out that many of us live where the wild things are.” Home to 82 percent of the nation’s population, cities and suburbs in the United States house two-thirds of all North American wildlife species, including many imperiled plants and animals.  Find out what you can do to improve urban landscapes.

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