Bird-Friendly Communities

A Bird-Friendly Earth Day in the Piedmont

On behalf of a grant by Toyota TogetherGreen by Audubon, Audubon North Carolina and Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County are working to revitalize urban neighborhoods with native plants and nest boxes to create a more bird-friendly community in Winston-Salem. In celebration of Earth Day, David Saltiel and his family worked with community volunteers to build their own bird-friendly backyard.

A Neighborhood Revitalized

What’s good for birds is great for people. And this year’s Earth Day celebration was no exception! Audubon North Carolina and Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County have formed a partnership to revitalize and beautify an urban neighborhood in Winston-Salem, creating bird-friendly backyards for first-time homeowners.

David Saltiel with his wife and sons.

This past weekend, community volunteers gathered with David Saltiel and his family for a Bird-Friendly Planting Day to install native plants and nest boxes, revitalizing their yard while making a difference for birds and wildlife too.

The Saltiel home in the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood of Winston-Salem.

Bird-Friendly is Contagious!

What has made the program so successful is the support and enthusiasm from the community and residents like the Saltiel family. David always wanted a birdhouse when he was a child in Puerto Rico, and now he has two to share with his sons!

A few of the volunteers that were on site to help during the planting day were future Habitat homeowners logging their hours to earn a home. They too want the bird-friendly treatment after seeing how this yard has come alive with native plants to feed hummingbirds and nest boxes for a nuthatch and a bluebird.

What’s Good for Birds is Great for People

The Bird-Friendly Communities partnership program, made possible by a grant from Toyota TogetherGreen by Audubon, focuses conservation efforts where most people live - in cities and towns. Audubon knows that individuals can play a critical role in fostering healthy wildlife populations by making simple, daily choices like constructing a nest box or using native plants when gardening.

The driving force behind Bird-Friendly Communities is that simple actions can have a positive impact for birds and people in city-spaces. To us, installing a nest box in your backyard is a small action, but it can make all the difference for a family of birds to survive and thrive for many years.

A nest box for nuthatches now sits in the bird-friendly backyard.

Citizens are given the tools they need to create connected habitats that benefit birds and people from the ground up.

Volunteers remove invasive kudzu from the backyard.

Toyota Together Green By Audubon

Earlier this year, Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator and Winston-Salem resident Kim Brand was awarded a $10,000 grant and fellowship from Toyota TogetherGreen by Audubon to lead the creation of bird-friendly spaces as part of the revitalization of the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood.

Kim Brand, Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator, stands with two volunteers.

Once the project is complete, six homes and two public spaces in this neighborhood will be made over with native plants and nest boxes for birds, sparking a revitalization and beautification of the traditionally urban space.

Native plants placed at the front of the home to support birds and wildlife.

Neighborhood beautification is a top priority for Habitat and its residents, and the Toyota TogetherGreen grant and Audubon partnership has given them the opportunity to expand the revitalization of the neighborhood, landscaping the yards much more extensively than ever before, and creating outdoor spaces that are friendly to people as well as birds.

And where would be without our volunteers? Because of the many individuals who have dedicated their time to building bird-friendly spaces in the community, dozens of native plants will now grow in this traditionally urban space, giving birds another day to survive and thrive. Thank you to everyone who braved the April showers to dig in some May flowers!

Curious about what was planted during the Earth Day event? Here is a list of the native plants used at the Saltiel home:

  • Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)
  • Dwarf Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria)
  • Thread-leaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • Small’s Beardtounge (Penstemon smallii)
  • Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)
  • Dwarf Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

With their grants, Toyota TogetherGreen Fellows conduct community projects to engage diverse audiences in habitat, water or energy conservation. To learn more about the conservation efforts of Audubon North Carolina and Toyota TogetherGreen visit

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