Bill Jones Jr. told Rotarians about helping wild birds

Tryon Rotarian Carolyn Jones raised her boy right. After college, Bill owned an organic lawn care business in Charlotte, then got his family out of the city in 2003 to found Carolina Native Nursery in Burnsville. It’s the go-to source for native shrubs and perennials along the east coast.

During last week’s meeting, Bill Jones shared concerns and solutions to help us all help wild birds. North American birds are in decline. In the last 50 years, the bird count on this continent declined by 3 billion—that’s 3,000 million birds lost. Why?

Bill Jones Jr. & Rotarian Carolyn Jones

Proven causes include use of neonicotinoid insecticides, destruction of habitat for birds and the insects they eat, vast expanses of fescue lawns, free-ranging house cats, and over-use of non-native plants.

How can an individual Rotarian in WNC help to rectify this situation? Here’s a checklist:

  • Get rid of all/part of your lawn. Fescue does not feed the birds. A two-cycle gasoline lawnmower
    pollutes 200X worse than a car and does not have a catalytic converter.
  • Plant species that birds and butterflies feed on—shrubs in the fall, perennials in the spring.
  • Leave the leaves lay where Jesus flang ‘em. Pollinators, and the insects that birds feed on,
    overwinter under the leaf layer.
  • Plant a native garden with a variety of shapes, sizes, and bloom times.
  • When you’re planting those natives, plant them in groups. Bugs are attracted to masses of flowers.
  • Make a brush pile and leave it be. Educate your neighbors to do the same.
  • Don’t deadhead perennials; native birds eat the seeds.
  • Turn off your bug lights when you comfortably can, and lose those security lights. If you own a
    parking lot, don’t illuminate it at night. Light pollution disorients airborne critters that navigate by the North Star.
  • Keep you cat in the house—it’s not their fault, but cats evolved to be effective bird assassins.

Easy peasy property maintenance, huh? No mowing, no blowing, no deadheading the coneflowers.
Helps the cashflow, too—you can Craig’s List that lawnmower and cut that utility bill.

Submitted by: Barbara Smith