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Get rid of the Ivy but please give natives thought

Keith Newton
I have friends that are serious birders, even a Ph.D. ornithologist that are some of the most incredible naturalist that I know. Ive attended some of their programs including one presentation by Douglas W. Tallamy, author of "Bringing Nature Home" Where Doug shows the connection between our "Native" plant species and the insects they host, and the birds that we all enjoy seeing.

I believe I've read that each year, we in the USA are loosing 4% of our total bird numbers annually. Some species more, some less, but think about that number or 40% in ten years if the number 4 seems low or acceptable. Some of us want to poison every insect we find on out property, or better yet, choose an exotic plant that is to toxic to all the insects in our locality. If you kill all your insects, you starve all the birds that feed on those insects.

The same is true for the seed and berry eaters. If you kill or replace all the indigenous vines and bushes, there goes that type of bird. And the same is beginning to become apparent with butterflies as well. Each butterfly or moth may have only one or two plants which host their larva, so If you eliminate those, there won't be any butterflies laying their eggs on whatever you replace them with. Caterpillars by the way is probably the favorite insect form that birds feed their nestlings.

One thing is for sure, If you don't like using poison to control the insects you have now, you're surly going to need a lot more of it if we loose the birds that feed on them. The only vines I see killing the trees they climb on and smother in my area, are invasive like Kudzu and Wisteria native to China. I have to cut the Wisteria vines in my back fencerow at the shop every year or two, and several times a year to keep it from shorting my power up at the transformers. It killed a really large Elm in by backdoor neighbors yard, and has smothered the top half of a large Arborvitae in the next block.

I'm in the woods most weekends all year long, and climb probably 30 trees a year while archery hunting. I've seen some pretty large wild grape vines, but never noticed that they smothered the trees they were on. I'll have to pay closer attention to that in the future though.

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