Bird Habitats

Bird Habitats - Page 2

Plants are often the most important element in any habitat. Fruit, berries, nuts, sap, and nectar completely satisfy the dietary needs of some birds. Because plants provide nourishment fro insects, they are also essential to insect-eating birds. Additionally, plants provide various nest sites and shelter from weather and enemies. In arid environments, plants are an important source of moisture.

Some species are intimately associated with a particular plant. The Kirtland's warbler, for example, nests only in young jack pine trees that spring up after a fire. When the trees grow large enough to shade the scrubby growth beneath, the warblers will no longer use them. This specific habitat requirement is one reason why the Kirtland's Warbler is now an endangered species ---probably fewer than a thousand remain. They live on Michigan's lower peninsula where the U.S. Forest service periodically burns jack-pine forest to provide the young trees that the birds need.

An understanding of the habitat requirements of a particular species can help you provide an appealing environment in your own backyard. Such an understanding is also helpful if you are interested in locating particular species. Veteran bird-watchers know that one of the best places to look for a diversity of birds is at the boundary between two kinds of habitat. Edges often provide an opportunity to see the birds that specialize in edge environments because the edge provide a greater diversity of prey.

Kirtland's Warbler