birds or butterflies?

Don Benson don.benson at
Tue Jan 22 12:13:04 EST 2002

Our 14 hectares is old agricultural field, now covered with grass,  which
has been set aside for voles and hawks. There are a few trees around the
edge and the bird boxes would go on them. There are a lot of starlings and
in the area.  The site is surrounded by a subdivision to the east, a golf
course on the south, more old-field grassland to the north,  and a
sedge-cattail marsh and the Gulf of Georgia to the west.

Our idea was to plant native wildflowers for the butterflies. This can be
done without disturbing the hawks and voles. The plants would benefit the
butterflies , if we were able to introduce them from two other areas in the
region where they are currently established. But in the mean time the plants
would benefit a lot of other insects.  The beauty of enhancing an area for
butterflies is that it is enhanced for a lot of other insects.

Another option is to plant a lot of native trees and shrubs around the edge
of the old field. But it seems that too would have an adverse effect on the
butterfly population because they would attract more lep-eating birds. We
already have one or two pairs of common yellowthroats and we would get more
if we planted a lot of willows and other shrubs.

Don Benson

"Anne Kilmer" <viceroy at GATE.NET> wrote in message
news:3C4D51CC.6090907 at GATE.NET...
> Ron Gatrelle wrote:
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Rudy Benavides" <rbenavid at>
> > To: <don.benson at>
> > Cc: <leps-l at>
> > Sent: Monday, January 21, 2002 9:51 PM
> > Subject: Re: birds or butterflies?
> >
> snip
> > If it were me the first thing I would do is make an inventory of _all_
> > biota that is already there (perhaps this has already been done).   I
> > then look to see how I could best eliminate the exotics that are not
> > of its natural state.  I would not want to "enhance" or biotically
> > reconfigure an area if in the process something native was loss in the
> > process.  I see no point in grooming an area for a pretty  butterfly if
> > the process a species of slug, or mite, or thorny plant is lost.
> >
> > What a blessing to have access to 14 hectares.  It should be managed to
> > benefit all life there.  If in that regimen other things can be
> > or drawn to the area ( like the butterflies and bird mentioned) without
> > hurting that to which it is already home,  more power to ya.
> >
> > Ron
> >
> I couldn't agree more, if the chosen butterflies and birds are appropriate
to the area.
> If not, pick something that belongs there, and favor it, when replacing
> exotics.
> You might also consider that starlings and house sparrows appreciate
> nest boxes, and anybody who takes on such a project is therefore
> committed to clearing out and killing nestlings of these pest species.
> Most people can't do that.
> Starlings are reputed to be hearty consumers of leps at any stage.
> According to some myths, the starling was imported to solve the gypsy
> moth problem. (She swallowed the cat to catch the bird; she swallowed
> the bird to catch the spider ...)
> Perhaps your forest is free of such pests?
> Anne Kilmer
> Miami Blue Crew
> South Florida
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