Seven Tips to Protect Birds

by MBC

I’m writing this article on Earth Day. Since I am an avid birder I want to offer you some suggestions on ways you can protect the birds wherever you live.

Becoming a birder is a great way to increase your awareness of the earth’s ecological systems. Get in touch with the natural world. Earth Day started in 1970. This year they estimate that over a billion people worldwide will participate by celebrating Earth Day in 192 countries.

1) Why Not Allow Your Back Yard to Get a Little Messy?

What do I mean? Well if you have a yard and you let some leaves or branches lay on the ground, birds could use them either in their nest building or as a place to nest or to find termites or other bugs. The more diversity of plants in your yard the more you will attract birds. Each species offers an interweaving story of the earth. Also tree snags can offer a place of refuge in bad weather or a place to hide from a predator such as a raptor or even a cat.

2) Birds Need Water

Birding will make you more aware of the weather and its impact on our feathered friends. For example, currently in California there is a severe drought. The drying up of water from the Colorado River is impacting life-sustaining habitat for hundreds of species of migrating, nesting, and wintering birds.

Birds need water to bathe in and also to drink.  Put out some water even if you don’t have a regular bird bath – they just might find it. Also try to remember to change the water about 3 times per week.  This will keep down the breeding of mosquitoes.

An Interesting Fact About Song Birds

In Lancaster, California in 2011 they installed 70 loud speakers and broadcast bird songs, tweets and chirps.  What do you suppose they learned?  These songs had a calming effect on the people who heart them and minor crime was reduced by 15 percent while major crimes dropped 6 percent.  What a great idea!

3) Purchase a Duck Stamp

What is a Duck Stamp you ask?  Well it was created as a way to raise funds from waterfowl hunters to create and preserve habitats (wetlands and grasslands) for birds.  But even if you do NOT hunt you can still purchase one of these stamps at your local post office.  Ask for the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. This tip is easy so do it today!

4) Volunteer at a National Wildlife Refuge

Take some kids on a nature walk and share your enthusiasm for birds and nature. Or volunteer to help hang bird feeders. Give a speech about the wonder of birds and how important it is to save them. Offer a drawing, photography or painting class to the public. This is a great way to learn to distinguish one bird from another.

5) Spring is a Great Time to Put Some Native Plants in the Ground

Bugs and spiders which are food for birds will flourish in your newly planted fruits or seeds. Find out from your local botanic gardens or city parks department what plants are non-native or invasive and remove them from your property. Those non-native plants can threaten whole ecosystems. Then plant something that is NATIVE.

Sunflowers are so Cheerful and They offer Seeds for Both Humans and Birds

6) Please STOP using pesticides and herbicides.

This is a huge way to assist nature!  Have you heard that the bees are dying? Well they are and it’s from the use of pesticides and chemicals.  The bees fertilize the flowers and crops and without them the biodiversity of both plants and animals and birds are all impacted negatively. If you cannot eliminate these chemicals, at least be aware of the impact and REDUCE your use of them whenever possible. Thanks.

Here are some cool ways to help the birds feather their nests in your yard.  Make some mud available - just water down some dirt for them.  When you mow or work in the yard pick up small sticks and make a pile and leave it in the yard for them to use in their nest.  Also leave a pile of dry cut grass (small is fine). If you have a dog or cat, keep some of their sheddings and put them out with some yarn or fabric scraps to be found by the nest builders.

7) Think about your windows.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons.  One reason is that some birds use the stars to help them to migrate and light pollution hinders them.  So turn your lights out to help them and also to reduce your carbon footprint.

The second reason is that a lot of birds die because they fly into windows.  Putting up screens can help. Closing your blinds or drapes can also help (and it keeps your home cooler inside too). You can also put multiple decals on your windows about 3” apart will work well.

Turn Your Churchyard into a Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary

What a great idea.  Then the congregation can enjoy the birds before or after church.  For further instructions visit make a bird friendly sanctuary.

8) Cover Open Fence Pipes and other Small Openings

Many birds die yearly because they enter empty pipes and end up dying, so if you have fence pipes, please cover them with wire so they cannot get inside.

I recommend this Organization to support Financially

I'll tell you why I donate to the Migratory Bird Conservancy because each dollar you donate grows to $4 in on-the-ground habitat conservation which is achieved by federal funds and matching grants.  So you and the birds get more bang for your buck!  So I recommend that you contribute today.  Of course, your gift is tax deductible.

Bird Banding

What is bird banding and why do we do it? 

We usually do banding during spring or fall migration in order to study which species are present and when and where do they migrate?  This is also helpful for conservation.  If you get a chance I would recommend attending a bird banding.  It is very educational and fun! 

First they must catch the bird in order to put a band on it with a unique number on it so that if it is captured again we have data on when (timing) and where (what is their route) this bird has been in their life.  Check with your local Audubon chapter to find out when and where bird banding is taking place in your area.

I experienced a bird banding station this year at an event sponsored by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, which was held at Chatfield Reservoir in Colorado. Not only will you see them catch the birds in a mist net (which does not hurt the bird) and handle them, weigh and measure them and record the data and put on the band and release the birds.

Bird Banding Video

A Gift Suggestion for the Bird Lover You Know

9) An Easy Way to Help Birds for Coffee Drinkers

This is a breeze.  When you purchase your coffee check the can and make sure it was SHADE GROWN.  Why - because birds need habitat and if they cut down the trees the birds loose their homes. Look for coffee that has certified shade status.

Told you it was easy peasy. Thank you and tell all your friends a people at neighboring tables at Starbucks or where you drink yours. Knowledge is power.

10) Join an Organization of your Choice that Protects and Restores Habitats

Birds are becoming endangered in many cases due to loss of their habitat such as wetlands.  There are many good organizations to choose from.  Volunteer at a local preserve or park and help restore ecosystems.

Conclusion Roger Torrey Peterson Quote

“The truth of the matter is, the birds could very well live without us, but many – perhaps all – of us would find life incomplete, indeed most intolerable without the birds.”

What You Can Do Now Under the Trump Administration

Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology by calling 866-989-2473 or go to

Think about asking your employer for a matching gift.  Set up something in your will to support birds, because government funding may be very scarce!

Penguin the Magpi is a Must Read Book

The book Penguin the Magpi - the odd little bird that saved a family is a very touching book that will lead people to conservation and also is a touching story of tragedy as well as hope.

This is a beautiful poem that I found at the beginning of the book:


As people know in black Africa and indigenous America, your
family is your entire village with all its inhabitants, living or dead.
Your relatives aren't only human.
Your family also speaks to you in the crackling of the fire,
in the murmur of running water,
in the breathing of the forest,
in the voices of the wind,
in the fury of thunder,
in the rain that kisses you
and in the birdsong that greets your footsteps.

Eduardo Galeano

Help Birds During Nesting Season

Save your yarn, string or fabric strips throughout the year and put them out in a bowl or on a plate for the birds to use as they choose.  Create some mud by wetting some dirt in your yard - several birds use mud when building their nests.  Also save pet hair or empty your vacuum bag to access it - makes the nest very soft!  Save cut grass for their use. Collect small sticks for them.

Monitoring Birds from a Helocopter - Doing Raptor Surveys

Not to be missed!

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Updated: 03/21/2019, MBC
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Do my Visitors Have Tips to Help Birds?

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MBC on 07/07/2015

Yes, I bet!

blackspanielgallery on 07/05/2015

The birds have decided they should share my figs, and seem to enjoy the crop each year.

MBC on 04/24/2015

Once you start to notice the birds, it becomes addicting!

Mira on 04/24/2015

I enjoyed this :). I, too, love birds and wish I could see more species here in Bucharest.

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