Thanks to the bloggers at Homemade Wilderness, I was alerted to this article, about how dozens of Cedar Waxwings in Florida died after eating poisonous, non-native Rosary Pea berries.
So, what does this have to do with anything?
Well, native birds have evolved to eat (ahem) native plants. There's a mutually beneficial relationship between plants and animals. Plants provide yummy, nutritious food to animals, who (ahem) spread their seeds, thus producing more plants, and more sources of food.
When gardeners plant non-native plants, the balance of nature is disrupted. The birds and other critters can't find their normal food sources, and eat what they can find. Some of this food suits the birds, and some, like the Rosary Pea berries, are deadly.
And the same goes for insects. The bee keeper's lecture I went to, two months ago, speculated about how genetically modified crops aren't producing enough pollen and nectar to feed bees.
Many of our gardens are food wastelands, for our wildlife.
So, why not plant a few natives, or just leave some in place when you landscape? The birds and the bugs will thank you for it.