Did you know that about 13% of the world’s bird species are now endangered? Dozens of endangered birds haven’t been spotted in years, meaning they may already be extinct. Bird populations have experienced a catastrophic decline in recent decades, which is devastating both to the planet and to human survival.
Birds are a very integral part of our ecosystems, and it’s essential for us to protect them from harm by taking action to conserve their habitats and increase their chances of survival.
There are a number of simple things you can do around your house and in your community to help ensure the longevity of our fine feathered friends.
Image from Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute
1. Drink Bird Friendly Coffee
If you’re an avid coffee drinker like I am, you can help birds by switching to a bird-friendly coffee brand, often labeled as shade grown coffee. Most coffee comes from farms that have been cleared of vegetation, which greatly disrupts bird habitats. Bird friendly coffee is grown under a canopy of trees, allowing numerous local and migratory birds to survive by providing them with adequate food and shelter.
2. Make your Windows Safer, Day and Night
Your home’s windows pose a serious threat to birds because the reflective glass of the windows gives off artificial light, which disorients any passing birds. As a result, birds end up colliding with the windows, which seriously stuns their bodies. Make your windows safer both during the day and night by covering them up with Venetian blinds, net curtains, or nettings. This will greatly help nocturnal and diurnal by ensuring that they don’t end up getting confused and hitting your windows.
2014 State of Birds Report
3. Keep Your Cat Inside
Cats are the number one killer of birds in North America. You can keep your cat away from the birds in your yard by keeping your cat indoors. Additionally, you can make use of repellents to keep your cat away from off-limit areas. Some examples include organic cat repellant or lemon peels since cats dislike the smell of citrus.
4. Get a Bird Feeder
A bird feeder is a container filled with birdseed to help supply food to birds. The goal is to attract different birds to stop for food and water. It’s so much fun to watch the birds enjoying the feeder! Get a nice bird feeder and place it outside your home to help feed the birds. However, make sure to place it at a safe location with an unobstructed view to help the birds detect potential predators in the area.
5. Provide Water with a Bird Bath or Pond
A bird bath is like a small basin or a small pond filled with water that basically helps the birds bathe, clean themselves, and drink the water to keep cool. Place a big enough birdbath in your garden to give the birds a chance to bathe and cool themselves.
6. Put up Nest Boxes or Birdhouses
Nest boxes are also known as bird boxes or just birdhouses, and they are a great way to attract different species of birds to your garden as well as to protect them. Birds usually build their nest in the birdhouse, and feed their young ones in the nest boxes. Place several nest boxes in your garden to provide the birds with safe living conditions. These also help maintain different kinds of bird species in particular areas.
7. Plant a Bird-Friendly Garden
Make your garden bird-friendly by placing numerous nesting materials, planting different varieties of fruit trees, and growing various kinds of flowers for insects and nectar. Ensure layered landscaping to offer numerous resources to birds where each layer helps create a thriving habitat for birds. This includes planting tall trees and shrubs, creating shelters, and ground feeding.
8. Become a Citizen Scientist
From the effects of climate changes to bird migration, you can learn and study so much about birds by becoming a citizen scientist. This will help you note and observe different kinds of bird species, learn about their habitats, and come up with ways to protect birds and save different bird species from extinction.
You can join in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of the National Audobon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The project invites everyone to submit the birds they spot in their own backyard.
Another great project is NestWatch. You can keep an eye on nests you see in your area and report information about them.
If you set up a bird feeder at your house, submit data about the birds that visit it to FeederWatch.
9. Forgo Pesticides
Pesticides are some of the most harmful substances that adversely affect the health of birds and are known to cause ‘secondary poisoning’ in predatory birds. They can lead to starvation, a decrease in production, a reduction in food consumption, and a decrease in the hatchability of eggs. Try to completely avoid the use of pesticides to ensure bird protection.
10. Join or Create a Local Community
Help the birds by sharing your passion for them with all your friends and family. Join communities or create one of your own through which you can create awareness, restore bird habitats, ensure habitat protection, forest management, and work with others to save all kinds of bird species.
11. Buy Bird Friendly Products
Other than bird-friendly coffee, try to use more bird-friendly products such as grass-fed meat, and lumber which is certified by the forest stewardship council. The goal is to buy only those products that don’t cause environmental damage or destroy bird habitats.
12. Reduce Plastic Use
Plastic is one of the biggest environmental hazards and ends up killing thousands of sea birds and other sea animals every year. Protect the birds by reducing your plastic consumption by replacing it with environmentally-friendly options that don’t cause any kind of damage.
13. Keep Beaches Clean
Litter on the beaches is another environmental threat because all the litter ends up in the sea, killing numerous sea birds and animals. Make sure to do your bit to clean the beach every time you visit, and also join different communities or organizations that do weekly beach clean-ups.
14. Leave No Trace when Camping, Hiking and Traveling
Going camping and hiking is great, but make sure you don’t leave any traces of your activities. Follow the “Leave No Trace” mindset, which is a guide for outdoor ethics that aims to promote outdoor conservation. It basically requires you to travel and camp on durable surfaces, respect wildlife, properly dispose of your waste, minimize the impact of campfires, and be considerate of the environment and ecosystems.
15. Buy a Migratory Bird Stamp
Migratory bird stamps are successful conservation tools that have primarily been created for the protection of birds and their habitats. Buy one of these stamps from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support bird habitat conservation and play your part in the bird protection campaign.
16. Adopt a Species (Symbollically)
One of the best ways to play your part in bird protection is to adopt a bird species of your liking. This is a great way to offer a help to birds that are in need. Many bird species end up losing their homes and habitats due to numerous human activities and environmental calamities. You can protect them by advocating for their species and restoring lost habitats.
Some wildlife conservation parks allow you to adopt a specific bird, and the World Animal Foundation has dozens of bird species to choose from for adoption.
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