Sunday, October 24, 2010

Database Matches Plants to Birds (Updated)

Sometimes I wonder which birds might use a particular plant, or how to attract a bird species. There is now a tool to help answer this question, at least for some eastern birds. Pennsylvania Audubon has assembled a database of plant-bird relationships. (Caution: the link was fine when I first wrote the post, but it may now lead to a phishing site.**) You can select a bird or a plant from dropdown menus; on hitting submit, you get a table of that species's relationships. (An example is shown below.) The tables show more than simply food plants, as the database includes plants that a bird might use for cover or nesting. (Some species have very specific needs for nest locations). It also breaks down the food uses by plant part. This information as the food sources are available at different times of year.

** Update: After several days I still have not had not a response from Audubon PA to an emailed query about the corrupted link. A lot of the same information can be found on the Audubon at Home website. Unfortunately, it does not have the same level of detail as Audubon PA's bird-plant database.