Nonnative plants, and not just invasive ones but decorative ones, are contributing to the decline in bird population. It isn't the plants themselves, it's the fact that they don't attract insects on which birds feed.
Birds that eat insects depend on caterpillars and spiders, which are attracted to native, not nonnative plants. So while we might find ways to remove caterpillars chewing up our plants, apparently we're also removing a major food supply for the birds.
What's the solution? Plant extra crops for the caterpillars and spiders? I think we could all probably manage that, protecting some plants from predators but allowing others to host caterpillars and spiders for our birds. Would nets be the most appropriate to protect plants?
The article addresses the appeal of the nonnatives, specifically, less of a lure to insects. But therein lies the negative aspect and irony as well.
This has made me wonder about the effect of hybridization, and whether or not these plants also fail to encourage insects.
This is a well written, scientific article which addresses a major issue, not only for birds, but for plant management as it affects nonnative crops.
Since we're planning for next year's gardens, this is a good time to identify which native and nonnative plants we have. I'm partial to David Austin roses, but they are hybridized, and it's not clear whether or not they would still attract insects. And what about all the hybridized seeds?
Perhaps I'll need to create a special bed for insects on which birds can feed.