October 12, 2012
Birds On the Move! Help Migrating Birds this Season
Migration is risky business, but we have a few (or 20) ways you can help smooth the way
by Debra Firmani
With some birds flying halfway around the world twice a year, migrating is no easy thing. So why do birds do it? We haven't figured out everything about migration yet, but we do know that it allows birds to find plentiful food and safe places to nest and raise their young.
Even though it's risky, the benefits of migration make it worthwhile for birds. But human-caused problems at both ends of their journeys and all along migratory flyways are adding to the natural risks.
Make life a little easier for your backyard birds:
- Prevent window collisions: place bird feeders less than 3 or more than 30 feet from windows, turn out lights when you leave work and close curtains when lights are on, or add a window film such as CollidEscape® to make windows visible to birds.
- Avoid using chemicals on your lawn or gardens.
- Plant native grasses, flowers, bushes, and trees.
- Keep cats indoors, for their safety and to protect birds.
- Keep it clean—your bird feeders and bird baths, that is.
- Don’t disturb birds while they are nesting.
- Leave fledglings alone so their parents can continue caring for them.
- Drive slowly so you can “Give Wildlife a Brake!”
Be a bird-friendly consumer:
- Opt for shade-grown coffee and chocolate, which grows beneath a forest canopy that shelters birds.
- Choose recycled paper and wood products with the Forest Stewardship Council label.
- Save trees by reducing junk mail you receive; contact DMAchoice.org.
- Don't buy wild-caught birds as pets.
Spread the bird love:
- Go birdwatching with friends or family.
- Create a backyard habitat and show others how to do the same.
- Participate in citizen science projects that help birds.
- Support efforts to restore natural habitat in your area.
- Volunteer for your local bird club or other conservation organization.
- Learn more about bird and habitat protection laws (local, state, and federal).
- Get outside and enjoy nature in your area.
- Share this list! (It's easy—just use the buttons at the top of the page.)
Debra Firmani is a writer and long-time advocate for animals and nature. Her articles on wildlife, wild lands, backyard habitat creation, and nature education have appeared in print and online.