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20 Ways to Conserve Birds

Posted on 05/03/2012

It’s the 20th anniversary of International Migratory Bird Day. This year’s theme is “Connecting People to Bird Conservation.”  Here are 20 easy ways that you can help birds! Join the Zoo for Endangered Species Day on Friday, May 18 from 10am to 2pm to learn more.

20 Ways to Conserve Birds

It's easy to get involved in bird conservation, and like anything, some of your most helpful actions begin at home.  Environment for the Americas surveyed biologists, educators, conservationists, birdwatchers, and bird enthusiasts to get their best ideas for getting involved in bird conservation.  In celebration of International Migratory Bird Day's 20th Anniversary, we selected 20 issues and simple solutions.  Imagine how many birds you can help finish their migratory journey, have a successful nesting season, raise young, survive the winter, if you just....

1. Prevent Bird Collisions with Your Windows  Collisions are one of the most frequent causes of bird deaths. Birds see nature reflected in the window or mistake houseplants inside the building for outdoor plants and fly into the glass. Putting up curtains or window decals helps make the window visible to birds.

2. Protect Birds From Pets  Unleashed dogs and outdoor cats can harm birds by disturbing, chasing, and even killing them. Keeping your cat indoors and your dog from straying saves millions of birds each year.   

3. Clean Your Bird Feeders  Dirty feeders can spread disease. Disinfect and clean out old seed from feeders frequently and put fresh water in your bird bath every day.

4. Don’t Buy Illegally-Caged Birds  Selling wild-caught birds as pets is illegal. Buy only captive-bred birds. Make certain that the breeder or pet store is reputable.

5. Use Cloth Grocery Bags and Reusable Bottles   Birds that mistakenly eat plastic trash can become ill or even die. Avoiding plastic bags and bottles reduces plastic pollution and conserves resources.

6. Recycle  Anything you recycle reduces litter and saves resources. Get creative! You can make a bag from used juice containers and bird feeders from old dishes and plastic bottles. 

7. Restore Natural Habitat in Your Community  Birds need a place to live and many bird habitats are disappearing. City parks and open spaces are natural places for birds.  Work with your community to recreate the habitat that once existed in your area.

8. Keep Your Distance  Birds need space for feeding, nesting, and other daily activities. Approaching too closely may cause them to become nervous and deplete much-needed energy reserves.  During the nesting season, it may even result in loss of eggs or young to predators.

9. Leave Fledglings Where You Find Them  Fledglings may spend several days on the ground after they leave the nest before they are able to fly. You can help by keeping people and pets away, so their parents can continue to care for them. If you think a bird is truly an orphan, call a rehabilitator for instructions.

10. Slow Down When Driving  Cars kill millions of birds each year. Driving slowly gives you more time to respond if there is
an animal in the road and gives the animal plenty of time to get out of the way.

11. Buy Bird Friendly Products  You can help preserve bird habitat in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean by buying shade-grown coffee and chocolate. Shade coffee farms, which imitate native forests, have many more bird species than sun coffee farms.

12. Plant Native  Native plants provide food, nest sites, and cover for birds.

13. Teach Others About Birds  Talk to your friends about birds and start a club in your community to teach people about the challenges birds face. The more people know, the more they can do to help.

14. Get Outdoors and Enjoy Nature  You can appreciate the bird habitat near your home. Find a local park and go for a walk or just stroll around your neighborhood.

15. Take a Friend Bird Watching  Invite a buddy and see if you can spot more birds together.

16. Support Conservation.  Join a bird club or other conservation organization to learn more and contribute to protecting birds. Volunteer with organizations that preserve habitat and help birds.

17. Be a Citizen Scientist  Many projects need helpers to gather data on birds and their habitat. Contact your local Nature Center, library or conservation organization to volunteer.

18. Reduce Energy Use  Riding your bike or walking reduces your carbon footprint and prevents pollution of bird habitats. Switching off the lights in your house not only shrinks your energy bill, but can also help prevent birds from colliding with your windows.

19. Avoid Chemicals  Birds may accidentally eat pesticide and herbicide pellets or prey that have been poisoned.  This can kill a bird or have toxic effects on their own health and that of their growing embryos, including deformation or suppressed immune systems.

20. Learn the Hunting Laws  Federal and local laws protect sensitive areas and manage the harvest of birds to ensure healthy populations.  Purchase a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.  It contributes to habitat which benefits all birds.

 

For more about International Migratory Bird Day: http://www.birdday.org/birdday

Courtesy: Environment for the Americas.

Photo: Linda Hellman Manaugh

Migratory BirdScissortail Flycatcher



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