1. Learn About Birds
Learning to identify birds is one of the best ways to connect with the natural world, and is the first step toward taking conservation action. You can start by borrowing a bird guide from your library, joining an outing with your local naturalist club, putting up bird feeders or participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count or Project FeederWatch! You can also check out the Merlin Bird ID App.
2. Buy Bird-Friendly
Reducing overall consumption and making ‘greener’ choices reduces your environmental footprint and benefits all wildlife. Think about the foods you buy, avoid food waste, buy food grown as locally as possible, and choose organic when you can.
Photo: Allison Manthorne
4. Keep Cats Indoors
Did you know that cats kill more than 100 million birds each year in Canada? Cats are the most significant human-related bird mortality factor in the country. Studies have shown that bells on collars are not effective in preventing cats from killing birds or other wildlife. Keeping cats inside is best for native wildlife, and for the health of your pets.
5. Welcome Birds Home
Plant native vegetation that provides cover and food for birds, like sunflowers and thistles. Tubular, nectar-producing flowers and flowering trees and shrubs attract hummingbirds. Fruiting trees such as mountain ash and serviceberry attract fruit-eating birds such as bluebirds, robins, and waxwings. Many sparrow species enjoy native prairie grasses. Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides on your property. Clean your bird feeders every two weeks with hot soapy water and a vinegar solution.
6. Prevent Collisions
Collisions with windows in residential and commercial buildings kill more than 25 million birds in Canada each year–and the majority occur at houses. You can help by placing bird feeders and bird baths at a safe distance from windows. The general rule is within 3 m (10 ft) of a window so a bird leaving the feeder can’t gain enough momentum to do harm if it strikes the window. Make any windows adjacent to or reflecting a bird feeder and/or the surrounding vegetation bird-friendly. Options include adding window screens, and applying specialized markers or tape spaced in a 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 in) grid pattern to the outside surface of the window.
For more information about these and other options for reducing bird-window collisions, please visit FLAP.org and Feather Friendly. Note that if you choose to purchase a Feather Friendly DIY product and use Coupon Code BirdsCanada, Feather Friendly will make a donation to Birds Canada to support bird conservation.