What Can I Do To Help Save Songbirds?
Plant a habitat garden and make your yard an oasis for birds. Provide: clean water, plants with flowers, fruit bearing plants, plants for protection and cover and nesting materials. Native plants are important as they provide necessary food and shelter to our native songbirds. For information about creating bird-friendly and pollinator-friendly communities visit www.audubon.org/conservation/creating-bird-friendly-communities.
Don’t trim your trees and bushes during breeding season (March to September). Songbirds use the cover of bushes and trees to hide their nests from predators, and trimming trees and shrubs during key breeding season can expose the birds to predators and the elements. Birds are good at hiding their nests and you don’t want to cut down a branch holding a nest because you were unable to see it.
Eliminate or reduce pesticide use. 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in agriculture annually, of which eight percent is used in gardens and on lawns. Researchers in the U.S. estimate that agricultural and residential use of pesticides kills millions of birds each year. Support organic farming by buying organic whenever possible. Use least-toxic and non-toxic products around your home and garden to prevent accidental poisoning of birds and to promote a healthy, sustainable garden.
Use fewer plastics. Each year approximately 100 billion plastic bags are thrown away. Many end up in the ocean where birds and other animals eat them, thinking they are jellyfish or squid, and die of starvation. Entanglement is also a great risk for birds and other creatures. Switch to bringing your own bags to the grocery store. North Fork Audubon has the perfect reusable shopping bags to purchase. Just inquire!
Make Windows Safe. While many fly in to skyscrapers, windows in single-family homes can also present a threat. It is estimated that 150 million birds die every year in the U.S. due to birds striking windows of residential homes. During the day, birds can confuse the reflection in a window with actual sky and trees. At night, indoor lights can attract them. Decals to place on windows are available online at windowalert.com to place on windows. Also visit www.audubon.org/news/think-you-have-bird-friendly-backyard-think-again for more information.
Keep Cats Indoors. Cats are great pets, but an estimated 2.6 billion birds die in North America each year when they are caught by cats. Keeping cats inside is good for both the cat and for local wildlife.
Save habitats and save energy. Coal fuels many power plants in the U.S., and coal mining has destroyed more than 750,000 acres of forests and bird habitats. Support clean energy; the burning of fossil fuels is the major contributor to climate change. (More on this below). Make it a family challenge to conserve energy. Keep track of your accomplishments: biking rather than taking the car, turning off the lights in rooms that are not in use, etc.
Become a Citizen Scientist. Regularly tracking birds in your backyard or community can provide scientists with detailed information about birds–their numbers, health and migration. You can get involved on a local level through: Project FeederWatch, NestWatch, YardMap, and eBird, or visit Citizen Science Central or Zooniverse for ideas. Start your birding “life list” and help contribute to ongoing research as a citizen scientist by visiting the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website at AllAboutBirds.org.
Spread the Word. North Fork Audubon Society, along with the National Audubon Society, is committed to spreading the word about the devastating impacts of climate change on birds. After extensive research over the course of many years, the National Audubon Society has concluded that at least half of all North American bird species are at risk due to climate change. Calculate your carbon footprint at terrapass.com and make incremental lifestyle changes. Commit to skipping meat for one day a week, reducing methane produced by livestock. Take public transportation when possible. Get your legislators to incorporate energy-efficient and green-building practices on the municipal level wherever possible. To learn more about the devastating impacts of climate change visit www.audubon.org/content/climate-change.
Speak up for birds each and every day.
Because the future of birds is in our hands.