The Tucson Audubon Society also encourages people to have pollinator gardens, even small ones. Their Habitat at Home program, run by Kim Matsushino, helps homeowners design and even plant pollinator-friendly gardens. Matsushino describes it as “A self guided step-by-step program that’s designed to help homeowners, neighborhoods and HOAs…to create outdoor spaces that are productive for birds, pollinators and other wildlife.” There are four levels of the program, from a small balcony garden for apartment dwellers to full-size, multi-acre habitats. “No matter how big or small your plot of land is, you can still provide beneficial habitat,” Matsushino says, and the program encourages people with all levels of experience in gardening.
Campbell says that pollinator plants tend to do very well in pots, another plus for people with small spaces. Hummingbirds are fairly easy to plant for, but gardeners will want to make sure there’s always something blooming, so that a year-round food source is present (more on this in Part 2). Campbell also encourages gardeners to consider how much food and resources there are for hummingbirds in their area. “You might want to think about supplementing with a hummingbird feeder that you keep very clean and refill to help get the hummingbirds through the nesting season so that their babies don’t die.”
Audubon is helping insects for a number of reasons. “Insects are a huge source of food for birds. So having them still be around is very important to our bird populations,” says Matsushino. The pollinator crisis has also got Audubon’s attention. “We realized that we have to do something for them. And creating bird habitat is very similar to creating pollinator habitat. It’s just a few extra little components that need to be done in order to suit pollinators.”