Creating Living Landscapes for Birds, Butterflies, Bees, and Other Beneficials

Hello Wild Side Readers,

I hope you are all enjoying the warm start to spring. Though in central Ohio, it’s felt more like summer recently! I for one, have been spending time in my home landscape, weeding, mulching, and checking almost daily for new sprouts and blooms. One rather large item on my to-do list this year, is to create a new landscape bed and I can’t wait to start picking and choosing wildlife-friendly plants to incorporate. If you find yourself in a similar situation, check out the below resources, including two new(ish) fact sheets on native trees and shrubs for wildlife AND a hot-off-the-press quick guide. These as well as other great resources are listed below! Enjoy and happy plantings!

Creating Living Landscapes Quick Guide


OSU Extension Fact Sheet: Native Trees: Creating Living Landscapes for Birds, Butterflies, Bees, and Other Beneficials

OSU Extension Fact Sheet: Native Shrubs: Creating Living Landscapes for Birds, Butterflies, Bees, and Other Beneficials

OSU Extension Creating Living Landscape Quick Guide 



If you have yet to discover the Plant-by-Numbers Guides, you are in for a real treat! These are great if you need help deciding not only what to plant, but how to arrange them in your landscape bed. Note there have been two NEW guides added recently! One is for hummingbirds and songbirds, called Hummers & Singers, and another for Good Garden Bugs. These guides were created and designed by Denise Ellsworth and Debra Knapke (and yours truly had the wonderful opportunity to help with the Hummers & Singers guide).

OSU Plant-by-Numbers Garden Plans for Butterflies & Moths, Specialist Bees, Bumble Bees, Hummers & Singers, and Good Garden Bugs


Native Bee Resources:


As some of you know, one of my favorite topics to speak about is bats. I’ve been getting more requests recently to speak on bat gardening. What is bat gardening, you ask? It’s the idea of planting insect-friendly plants to provide food resources to bats. While research on the impacts of such plantings is lacking, it can confidently be stated that providing diverse plant communities can support diverse insect communities. This, in turn, has the potential to benefit bats. In the below resource, The Ohio Bat Working Group’s website, there is a video on bat gardening. I also recommend the below book on moths, to learn more about these fascinating creatures and moth-friendly plants.

Ohio Bat Working Group: information on Ohio bats, coexisting with bats, and habitat management included providing habitat for bats in forests and backyards.

Gardening for Moths by Jim McCormac and Chelsea Gottfried


Last but certainly not least, if we work hard to incorporate bird-friendly plants into our home landscapes, we should also work to ensure the birds remain safe. Every year, roughly 1 billion birds die after hitting windows in the United States, and nearly half of those are collisions with home windows. Homeowners are rarely aware of these collisions as injured birds may fly away to die elsewhere or be eaten by a predator (cat, raccoon, fox, or dog) before being found. Please consider making your windows bird-safe. The link below has some great suggestions.

Tufted titmouse and red berries, Kentucky

American Bird Conservancy – Preventing Bird Window Strikes information


Thank you for your time and Happy Spring!!

Marne Titchenell
Wildlife Program Director, OSU Extension
School of Environment and Natural Resources
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences