The Houston Botanic Garden is an urban oasis for birds. The Garden’s diversity of native plants, wide open space, and plentiful food and shelter offer ideal habitat for migrating birds.
Houston Audubon has counted almost 140 species of birds on site, a number that has grown by almost 40 percent since work began in the spring of 2019 to take the site from golf to garden, and is expected to grow even more along with the Garden as future phases of the master plan are added.
Planting to support wildlife is very important, now more than ever. Since 1970, the United States has lost 2.5 billion native migratory birds. The main driver of this massive reduction is habitat loss and degradation. Grassland species have taken the biggest hit, and it’s no wonder, since only one percent of our native coastal prairies and grasslands remain intact.
Whether African or native Texan, savannas and prairies are resilient and self-sustaining natural systems if they have a critical characteristic, biodiversity.
Native plant, insect, fungal, and microbial diversity is threatened by habitat loss and our changing climate. Species reduction due to drought, warm winters, hot summers, and flooding impact a prairie’s ability to serve many of the natural functions that humans need, like air quality, carbon sequestration, water filtration and storage, and wildlife support.
Remarkably, prairies are better than other ecosystems at collecting air carbon and storing it in roots and soil until spring, when CO2 is turned into oxygen.