Use native plants to help birds suffering losses

Regarding the recent story, “Thinning the Flock,” about the loss of North American birds:

As longtime birders, we are painfully aware of the massive decline of birds described.

There are many causes — including habitat loss, insecticides, cats and window strikes. As members of the southeast chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, we’d like to offer a practical suggestion for South Jersey residents who want to push back against the trend.

Plant native plants on your property — and ask the businesses and institutions where you shop or work to do the same.

Landscaped properties across South Jersey — including many, if not most, private yards — hold so many non-native shrubs and trees that they are food deserts for parental songbirds. Research by University of Delaware entomologist Douglas Tallamy and others has demonstrated that songbirds searching for food for their nestlings forage primarily on native plants. Why? Because that’s where caterpillars and other plant-eating insects are found.

Our native trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses provide leaf food for the insects that become, in turn, the nestling songbirds’ nutrient supply. Non-native plants — including crepe myrtle, Bradford pear, Japanese barberry, burning bush, rose of Sharon, Norway maple and dozens of other aliens available wherever plants are sold — are worse than useless to baby songbirds. Most spread quickly and crowd out native plants everywhere. All hold leaves that cannot be eaten by most caterpillars. Caterpillars can eat only the leaves of plants whose chemistry they have adjusted to through evolution over thousands of years — our native plants.

Grow them and the birds (and butterflies, bees and so much else) will come!

Jesse and Jack Connor

Port Republic

Blame Murphy, county for release of sex suspect

Well, thanks in part to the policy of Gov. Phil Murphy and his minions toward U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an illegal immigrant being held in the Cumberland County Jail was released, even though there was an ICE detainer to hold him. This immigrant was being held on various sexual-offense charges.

I can also place some blame on the county government for not standing up to the governor, just like their counterparts in Cape May and Monmouth counties.

The governor wants to crack down on owners of guns, but this action against ICE will only lead to more people wanting to purchase guns for self-protection.

It’s a sad day when the governor pits one law enforcement agency against another. And since when does local authority usurp federal law?

Heaven forbid that this released immigrant molest another female or even possibly kill her. Then where does the blame lie? Right on the governor’s doorstep.

Ted Hesser

Mays Landing

Load comments