Over one-third of North America’s native bird species need urgent conservation action. Among them are the musical Wood Thrush, bubbly Bobolink, and striking Prothonotary Warbler. Can you imagine these iconic birds disappearing from Canada forever?
In the 20th century, waterfowl species were fading out. Fortunately, North Americans took action. Thanks to collaborative, continent-wide research and conservation efforts, waterfowl populations rebounded and are going strong. By working together, we can help the species that need it now.
Bird Studies Canada has created a list of six important ways you can help birds today. You can get involved in addressing critical threats facing birds, and help give them a bright future.
1) Learn About Birds:
Knowledge is power, so empower yourself to conserve birds! Field guides, online tools, mobile apps, and people (like field naturalists in your local club) can open doors to experiences that will help birds, and also enrich your life.
2) Buy Bird-Friendly:
Use your dollars to support products that minimize pesticide use and pollution while maximizing habitat. Look for bird-friendly coffee, forest-friendly paper products, and food that is organic and/or locally grown, and prevent waste by buying only what you can use.
3) Support Conservation:
Consider sharing your time or money to help birds. By becoming a member, donor, or volunteer for Bird Studies Canada or one of the other Cats and Birds project partners, you can make a real difference. Participating in Bird Studies Canada’s Citizen Science programs allows you to enjoy the birds while collecting valuable data!
4) Keep Cats from Roaming Unsupervised:
An estimated 100 million – 350 million birds are killed by outdoor cats in Canada each year, making them the most significant threat to bird populations that humans directly influence, after habitat loss. Outdoor living also greatly increases a cat’s risk of being killed or hurt by a vehicle or disease. Catsandbirds.ca has plenty of tips to keep cats safe and save bird lives.
5) Make Your Yard Bird-Friendly:
Good habitat includes food, water, and shelter. Different species have different preferences, so a providing a range of seed, flower, and fruit-producing plants is best. Vary the height of vegetation, and include native plants in the mix.
6) Prevent Bird-Window Collisions:
Birds don’t perceive glass the way we do. Tens of millions of birds die in Canada each year trying to fly to reflected trees or through what appears to be empty space. Proven bird-saving techniques include applying strings, stickers, or netting (with less than 5 cm of space in between) on the outside of windows, and placing feeders less than 1 metre or more than 9 metres away from glass.
If you love birds, you’re likely already doing at least one thing on this list. We hope this article has given you some new ideas for helping – and enjoying – birds in your day-to-day life!
Visit Bird Studies Canada’s website to learn more about why birds matter and what you can do to help.
By Ellen Jakubowski, Bird Studies Canada