Celebrate the nature in your backyard on Earth Day.
Nature is waiting at your doorstop. Right now, with Spring Migration full-on and Nesting Season underway, it’s the best time of the year for backyard birders. Everything is happening right outside your window! Don’t miss out on the fun! With three humble elements you can turn your backyard into a ‘micro-habitat’ and support wild birds and other native pollinators, too.
Every backyard can be a haven for wild birds.
It’s easy to get started and even the smallest effort counts. The smallest, most humble feeder or bath can help make a difference for generations of wild birds.
Start a backyard micro-habitat. It just takes three simple elements, no matter the budget, scale or level of your effort.
A great first element for your habitat.
All birds need water for drinking and bathing, all year round.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be the most humble bird bath ever. As long as it’s clean, filled with fresh water and accessible, you’ve officially started a habitat! Why start with a bird bath? Every bird needs water for bathing and drinking, all year round. See our resource page Wild Birds, Water and Summer for more.
Provide clean feeders and fresh quality seeds.
But what about birds that eat insects and fruit? You can help by stopping pesticides and planting natives.
If you are a Bird Mama or Papa feeding your babies, you’d want a handy meal nearby, too! (Especially by the second or third brood.) Our feeders provide extra nutrition to supplement birds’ natural diets during Spring and Summer Nesting Season. See our resource page Quality Food and Clean Feeders Matter for more about wild bird health and nutrition.
Protect the critical food source for baby birds–Native insects. No pesticides, please!
If you’re using synthetic pesticides on your lawn, you are undermining your own efforts to support your backyard birds’ health. This is why:
Pesticides are killing beneficial insects. Even while while bird parents are supplementing their own nourishment at your feeders, they depend on feeding live, uncontaminated insects to give their babies the best chance for survival.
How to celebrate Earth Day every day? Give up your grass (lawn).
You are undermining all your best habitat efforts if you are hellbent on having a perfect lawn. Here are four good reasons to end your romance with grass.
- Occupies space for native plants that are meant to be there.
- Offers no benefits for wildlife.
- Takes constant effort and money for maintenance.
Quitting pesticides for good. Everybody’s doing it.
Many pesticides are now officially banned since The Montgomery County Pesticide Law went into effect.
This law bans the use of EPA-registered pesticides for cosmetic use on lawns; publicly accessible playgrounds or mulched recreation areas; or the grounds of private children’s facilities.
If your own children need to be protected from something, why use it?
There are lots of alternative products and informational resources available for homeowners and lawn care professionals to transition from synthetic pesticides. See our Quick Links below.
Time to mow your… algae?
You may also be undermining your best habitat efforts by putting too much fertilizer on your lawn. Rain washes the excess (wasting your time and money) into our waterways.
Ultimately, the nitrogen and phosphates from excess fertilizer feeds algae that’s threatening the health of the Chesapeake. This is exactly why The Maryland Fertilizer Law was enacted in 2013.
Find out more about pesticides and fertilizer use.
Montgomery County’s Pesticide Law
- Products Compatible with Montgomery County’s Pesticide Law
- How to dispose of pesticides- MoCo Household Hazardous Waste
- A handy guide to print and share (PDF in English and Spanish)
- A ton of resources about Organic Lawn Care
The Maryland Fertilizer Law
- Be Wise! Don’t Over-Fertilize. The Maryland Fertilizer Law
- University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center on sustainable gardening and pest management
- Ask a Gardening Expert – Maryland Professionals who will answer any question you may have, if you can’t find your answer on the extensive Environmental & Natural Resources website.
Sources for Native Plants
Bird houses for a start, of course.
But what about birds that nest elsewhere? Help by stopping all that yard work. And stop torturing yourself by pursuing that perfect grass lawn.
Drastic pruning disturbs nesting birds, but with a massive cleanup or heavy mulching you are also disrupting other less visible occupants. Give overwintering pollinators and other beneficial insects every chance to emerge from your pesticide-free yard—just in time to nourish baby birds!
You’re creating a haven for yourself, too.
When you replace your high-maintenance lawn with no-maintenance native plants, you’re not only providing natural FOOD and SHELTER for your birds, you’re also creating a peaceful and restful haven for yourself! Your birds will reward you daily with glorious Spring birdsong uninterrupted by noisy mowers and leaf-blowers.
You’re restoring your birds’ native habitat.
By creating a backyard habit with native plants and a healthy native insect population, you’re also restoring another piece of natural habitat that’s connected to Migratory Flyways. As green space increasingly disappears due to development, our backyard micro-habitats link together, backyard by backyard, across our county – our state – our country.
This Earth Day, we hope you take a break and enjoy Nature, waiting at your doorstep.