by Kathy Ross
Recent research findings on declining bird populations motivates all of us to find ways to help the birds that add so much to our world. Many Bird Conservation organizations are offering ideas on how we as humans can help. Below is a list drawn from suggestions made by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, American Bird Conservancy and the Teton Raptor Centre, along with a few of my own.
SUGGESTIONS FOR HELPING BIRDS
- Make windows safer night and day to help prevent bird collisions.
- Garden with native plants, help restore natural habitats in your yard and community.
- Use less plastic.
- Buy bird habitat friendly products like coffee and chocolate which are grown in the winter habitats of our migratory birds. Look for Fair trade, organic and shade grown.
- Do not buy illegal caged birds.
- Keep pets inside as much as possible, especially cats. We love our cats but they love birds.
- Buy migratory bird stamps.
- Slow down when driving to avoid collisions with birds feeding along road ways
- Be a Citizen Scientist, join Christmas bird counts and Backyard bird counts. There are many opportunities in your own back yards. You can make a difference.
- Take a child or friend birding. Help others connect with nature and birds.
- Minimize the use of pesticides and herbicides.
- Let lawns grow taller and go to seed.
- Clean your bird feeders.
- Keep water available for birds year round if possible.
- Keep your distance from birds, especially when they are nesting.
Excellent discussions of these and other suggestions, detailing why and how to do them – and resources for help, can be found at www.abcbirds.org, www.birds.cornell.edu (7 ways to help birds), and www.tetonraptorcenter.org (Backyard Conservation for birds).