Making bird-friendly habitats in Port Washington

Making bird-friendly habitats in Port Washington
Aren Tung with butterfly weed

Three Port Washington residents — Akiko Blanchard, Aren Tung and Andy Hollender — are among the 35 Nassau County residents whose properties have been certified as a bird-friendly habitat by the North Shore Audubon Society. The certification program started in April 2017.

So what caused these residents, who are not birders, to want their yards to be bird-friendly habitats? Hollender said he needed more plants and simply thought, “I might as well buy native plants.”

When a North Shore Audubon expert explained that native plants will help native birds and beneficial insects, Blanchard became convinced.

“Now is the time to pay attention to native plants and not just buy plants for color and height,” she said. While not as interested in identifying birds, she likes attracting birds to her yard.   Akiko added that she is looking forward to the goldenrod blooming in the fall.

Aren Tung had an open space in her garden and wondered what could she do there.  When North Shore Audubon Society suggested establishing a bird-friendly habitat, she realized that she didn’t have many birds visiting her garden and she wanted them. She said that if NSAS was going to help her choose flowers then she would put them in her backyard. She looks hopefully at her new cardinal flower hoping a hummingbird will show up one day.

All three agreed that they spent more than they might have because of the discount made possible by a $1000 Burke grant from National Audubon Society. The $5 off every $25 spent helped mitigate the cost of the native plants on which the three residents spent hundreds of dollars each.

As of this writing, only $40 is left from the grant, so contact NSAS at [email protected] if you want to take advantage of this discount.  Audubon partner, Bayles Garden Center, will honor the grant as well as discount twenty percent off the purchase price of native plants.

Another bonus of having North Shore Audubon Society visit your yard is that they will pick up and deliver plants to you if you want this service. Besides buying plants from Bayles, NSAS uses two wholesalers in Suffolk County: Glover Perennials and Atlantic in Dix Hills. NSAS also visits homes in Queens and Suffolk County. The Bide-a-wee pet cemeteries in Wantagh and Westhampton requested and received their help in choosing native plants.

For more information on what makes a bird-friendly habitat go to the website,

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