Bird watching is a favorite pastime of millions of people. With this popularity, it comes as no surprise that there is more than one day established to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy birds.
The superintendent of schools in Oil City, Pennsylvania, Charles A. Babcock, established the first Bird Day on May 4, 1894. By 1910, Bird Day was widely celebrated, often in conjunction with Arbor Day to encourage conservation and awareness of birds.
International Migratory Bird Day celebrates the incredible journey that migratory birds take each year. They travel thousands of miles between breeding grounds in North America, and their winter homes in Central and South America. Organizers say this is a day to both support, and to increase awareness of conservation efforts in support of migratory birds. They also suggest a nature walk to look for and enjoy migrating birds.
On each of these Bird Days, Wild Birds Unlimited encourages you to take a few minutes to watch and observe birds, as well as to feed them.
20 Ways to Help Birds
1. Prevent Bird Collisions - Collisions
are one of the most frequent causes of bird deaths. Put up window decals or
window feeders to alert birds to glass.
20 Ways to Help Birds
|Click on the Interactive Songbird Poster courtesy of Bill Reynolds.|
2. Protect Birds From Pets - Unleashed dogs and cats can harm. Keeping your cat indoors and your dog leashed to save millions of birds each year.
3. Clean Your Bird Feeders - Dirty feeders can spread disease. Disinfect and clean out old seed from feeders frequently and put fresh water in your bird bath.
4. Don’t Capture Wild Birds - Selling wild-caught birds as pets is illegal. Make certain that the breeder or pet store is reputable.
5. Use Cloth Grocery Bags and Reusable Bottles - Birds that mistakenly eat plastic trash can become ill or even die. Make sure to recycle plastic bags and bottles.
6. Recycle - Anything you recycle reduces litter and saves resources. Get creative!
7. Restore Natural Habitat - Birds need a place to live and many bird habitats are disappearing. Create a refuge in your yard.
8. Keep Your Distance - Birds need space for feeding, nesting, and other daily activities.
9. Leave Fledglings Where You Find Them - Baby birds need to learn how to live without your help. Stay away and let their parents teach them the ropes. You can help by keeping people and pets away. If you think a bird is truly an orphan, call a rehabilitator for instructions.
10. Slow Down When Driving - Cars kill millions of birds each year. Driving slowly gives you more time to respond if there is an animal in the road and gives the animal plenty of time to get out of the way.
11. Buy Bird Friendly Products - You can help preserve bird habitat in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean by buying shade-grown coffee and chocolate. Shade coffee farms, which imitate native forests, have many more bird species than sun coffee farms.
12. Plant Native - Native plants provide food, nest sites, and cover for birds.
13. Teach Others About Birds - Talk to your friends about birds and start a club in your community to teach people about the challenges birds face. The more people know, the more they can do to help.
14. Get Outdoors and Enjoy Nature - You can appreciate the bird habitat near your home. Find a local park and go for a walk or just stroll around your neighborhood.
15. Take a Friend Bird Watching - Invite a buddy and see if you can spot more birds together.
16. Support Conservation - Join a bird club or other conservation organization to learn more and contribute to protecting birds. Volunteer with organizations that preserve habitat and help birds.
17. Be a Citizen Scientist - Many projects need helpers to gather data on birds and their habitat. Contact your local Nature Center, library or conservation organization to volunteer.
18. Reduce Energy Use - Riding your bike or walking reduces your carbon footprint and prevents pollution of bird habitats. Switching off the lights in your house not only shrinks your energy bill, but can also help prevent birds from colliding with your windows.
19. Avoid Chemicals - Birds may accidentally eat pesticide and herbicide pellets or prey that have been poisoned. This can kill a bird or have toxic effects on their own health and that of their growing embryos, including deformation or suppressed immune systems.
20. Learn the Hunting Laws - Federal and local laws protect sensitive areas and manage the harvest of birds to ensure healthy populations.