Ways You Can Help Save the Birds

Save Birds with 8 Simple Steps to Make Your Lifestyle Bird-friendly

You’ve read the news and probably heard that birds are in trouble, but you can help save birds by making your home and lifestyle bird-friendly.

Here are 8 simple actions we can take to help our beloved feathered friends.

Save Birds by Making Windows Bird-friendly

Up to 1 billion birds are estimated to die each year after hitting windows in the U.S. alone.

By day, birds perceive reflections in the glass as a habitat they can fly into.

And by night, migratory birds drawn in by city lights are at high risk of colliding with buildings.

Take these simple steps to save birds

On the outside of the window, install screens or break up reflections—using film, paint, or Acopian BirdSavers or other string spaced no more than two inches high or two inches wide.

If you want to make even more of a difference, work with businesses or public buildings offering a contest for creative “window mural” designs making windows safer for birds.

Support legislation for bird-friendly building designs, like the Bird-Safe Buildings Act.

Keep Cats Inside

Cats are estimated to kill more than 2.4 billion birds annually in the U.S.

This is the #1 human-caused reason for the loss of birds, aside from habitat loss.

Cats make excellent pets, but more than 100 million feral and pet cats now roam in the United States.

These nonnative predators instinctively hunt and kill birds even when well fed.

Take steps to discourage feral cats and protect backyard birds from cats—both feral and pet cats can take a huge toll on ground-feeding thrushes. Photo: Wood Thrush_Michael Parr, American Bird Conservancy
Take steps to discourage feral cats and protect backyard birds from cats—both feral and pet cats can take a huge toll on ground-feeding thrushes. Photo: Wood Thrush_Michael Parr, American Bird Conservancy

Save birds and keep your cats healthy by keeping them indoors or creating an outdoor “catio.”

A catio is a cat enclosure or “cat patio” that provides feline safety and enrichment outdoors.

You can also train your cat to walk on a leash.

Make even more of an impact by speaking out about the effects of feral cat colonies in your neighborhood and on public lands.

Support animal rescue groups that find loving homes for abandoned or feral cats.

Unowned cats’ lives may be as short as two years because of disease and hardship, and they are responsible for 69% of birds killed by cats in the U.S.

Replace the Lawn, Plant Native Species

Birds have fewer places to safely rest during migration and to raise their young.

More than 10 million acres of land in the U.S. was developed from 1982 to 1997.

Lawns and pavement don’t offer enough food or shelter for many birds and other wildlife.

With more than 63 million acres of lawn in the U.S. alone, there’s enormous potential to support wildlife by replacing lawns with native plantings.

Broad-billed hummingbird feeding from orange aloe flowers in Pima Canyon in the Catalina Mountains
Broad-billed hummingbird feeding from orange aloe flowers in Pima Canyon in the Catalina Mountains

Make a more significant impact and save birds by adding native plants and watch birds come in.

Native plants add interest and beauty to your yard and neighborhood and provide shelter and nesting areas for birds.

The nectar, seeds, berries, and insects will sustain birds and diverse wildlife.

And you’ll soon be seeing and enjoying a wider variety of birds in your backyard.

Get started by finding out which native plants are best for your area using the Audubon’s Native Plant’s Database.

Don’t Use Pesticides

More than 1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied in the United States each year.

The nation’s most widely used insecticides, called neonicotinoids or “neonics,” are lethal to birds and to the insects that birds consume.

Common weed killers used around homes, such as 2, 4-D, and glyphosate (used in Roundup), can be toxic to wildlife, and glyphosate has been declared a probable human carcinogen.

Go pesticide-free
Go pesticide-free

Pesticides toxic to birds can harm them directly through contact, or if they eat contaminated seeds or prey.

Pesticides can also harm birds indirectly by reducing the number of insects that birds need to survive.

Here are a few healthy choices for you, your family, and birds

Consider purchasing organic food.

Nearly 70% of the produce sold in the U.S. contains pesticides.

Reduce pesticides around your home and garden.

Go one step further.

Urge your Representative to cosponsor Saving America’s Pollinators Act. The bill, H.R. 1337, requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend the registration of neonics.

Check out the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

Drink Bird-Friendly Coffee

Three-quarters of the world’s coffee farms grow their plants in the sun, destroying forests that birds and other wildlife need for food and shelter.

Sun-grown coffee also often requires using environmentally harmful pesticides and fertilizers.

But shade-grown coffee preserves a forest canopy that helps migratory birds survive the winter.

Few consumers are aware of the problems of sun coffee, and those who are aware may be reluctant to pay more for environmentally sustainable coffee.

Insist on shade-grown coffee that’s good for birds.

It’s a win-win-win.

Drinking bird-friendly coffee helps save birds
Drinking bird-friendly coffee helps save birds

The coffee is delicious and economically beneficial to coffee farmers.

Plus, it helps more than 42 species of North American migratory songbirds that winter in coffee plantations, including orioles, warblers, and thrushes.

Make a more significant impact by choosing for Bird-Friendly coffee, a certification from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center that also includes organic and fair trade standards.

Help educate your local coffee shops and grocery stores about shade-grown coffee.

Find out where to buy Bird-Friendly coffee here.

Protect Our Planet from Plastics

It’s estimated that 4,900 million metric tons of plastic have accumulated in landfills and in our environment worldwide.

Plastic is polluting our oceans and harming wildlife such as seabirds, whales, and turtles that mistakenly eat plastic, or become entangled in it.

READ: DEATH BY PLASTIC

Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade, and 91% of plastics created are not recycled.

Studies show that at least 80 seabird species ingest plastic, mistaking it for food.

Cigarette lighters, toothbrushes, and other trash have been found in the stomachs of dead albatrosses.

Reduce your use of plastics to save birds, and the environment.

Where does our plastic go? It’s polluting our oceans and harming wildlife such as seabirds, whales, and turtles that mistakenly eat plastic, or become entangled in it
Where does our plastic go? It’s polluting our oceans and harming wildlife such as seabirds, whales, and turtles that mistakenly eat plastic, or become entangled in it

Avoid single-use plastics, including bags, bottles, wraps, and disposable utensils. It’s far better to choose reusable items, but if you do have disposable plastic, be sure to recycle it.

Make a more significant impact by advocating for bans of plastic bags, styrofoam, and straws.

READ: STRAWS SUCK FOR BIRDS AND OCEAN WILDLIFE

Encourage stores to offer incentives for reusable bags, and ask restaurants and other businesses to phase out single-use plastics.

Many communities have created a BYOB – bring your own bag policy, and banned the use of plastic bags altogether.

Become a Citizen Scientist

The world’s most abundant bird, the Passenger Pigeon, went extinct, and people didn’t realize how quickly it was vanishing until it was too late.

Monitoring birds is essential to help protect them, but tracking the health of the world’s 10,000 bird species is an immense challenge.

To understand how birds are faring, scientists need hundreds of thousands of people to report what they see in their backyards, neighborhoods, and wild places around the world.

Become a citizen scientist and report your Snowy Owl sightings to eBird.org. Photo: Snowy Owl by Doug Hitchcox, Macaulay Library at Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Become a citizen scientist and report your Snowy Owl sightings to eBird.org. Photo: Snowy Owl by Doug Hitchcox, Macaulay Library at Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Without this information, scientists will not have enough timely data to show where and when birds are declining around the world.

Enjoy birds while helping science and conservation by joining a project such as eBird, Project FeederWatch, a Christmas Bird Count, or a Breeding Bird Survey to record your observations.

Your contributions will provide valuable information to show where birds are thriving—and where they need our help.

Make a more significant impact mobilizing others by organizing school groups or leading bird walks and submitting your counts to eBird.org.

Vote in 2020

Birds need our government to show some consideration for their plight.

That means leaders who don’t weaken wildlife acts, open up protected areas, and authorize “emergency” use of harmful pesticides.

Vote for leaders who show consideration for the plight of our birds
Vote for leaders who show consideration for the plight of our birds

We need leaders who don’t do any of the above and treat and respect our natural resources as the precious treasures they are.

And pledge to defend and strengthen the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and advance climate solutions.

Since the birds don’t have a say in who is running things, it’s up to us to vote for leaders who believe birds, and nature matter.

Coexist with Nature 

These 8 simple steps can help make a difference to help save birds, and bring you closer with nature and wildlife.

We can’t think of better friends to have than the gifts mother nature gave us.

To help and learn more, we encourage you to visit 3billionbirds.org.

Let’s all #coexist.

 

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