BirdNote’s mission is to bring the joy and wonder of birds to listeners all over the world through our vivid and awe-inspiring storytelling – to inspire people to take steps to protect our feathered friends. Here are a few simple ways you can make a big difference for birds in 2023:
1. Maintain any feeders and baths
One of the easiest and most popular ways to help birds, especially during harsh winters and migration season, is by providing them with food and water. This can be as simple as filling a bird feeder with seeds and including other nutritional food items, setting out a dish of water or putting up a bird bath. In the winter months, when natural food sources may be scarce, providing birds with a reliable source of food can be especially important. However, making sure feeders and baths are constantly clean is key to keeping bird populations healthy and avoiding the spread of diseases. BirdNote has compiled a resource for understanding avian influenza, which is updated regularly. In addition, keeping your bird bath thawed in the winter can do birds a great service and attract some fascinating friends.
2. Create a bird-friendly garden
Native plants are the best plants for your native birds and planting native plants that provide food and shelter is a great way to not only attract birds to your home, but also help to protect birds and other animals. Bringing back plants that are native to particular areas, rather than non-native or invasive plants, helps ensure insects that live in that region have something to eat - plants that they co-evolved with. In turn, this brings back birds and other wildlife. This connection between plants, the insects they host and the birds they attract is so important. The National Audubon Society’s Plants for Birds resource can help you find out which plants will help the birds in your area thrive. BirdNote also has a great episode on making a flower bomb to disperse!
3. Build nest boxes
Putting up a box in the right place — and that’s the right size to accommodate them — is truly an act of stewardship that can go a long way in helping birds. They can also be a great way to attract sweet-singing birds, depending on where you live. Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Purple Martins, chickadees, titmice, and more all nest in cavities and can use these nest boxes. And, if you’re located in Europe, here’s a unique way you can help Common Swifts - by building “swift bricks” - or little nest boxes designed to match the exterior of a building and provide a good nook for a nesting swift.
4. Drink bird-friendly coffee
Drinking bird-friendly coffee - or coffee that benefits birds by making sure the coffee is grown in a way that doesn’t harm birds and other wildlife - can be a simple way to help birds as a consumer. In 2023, when you go to enjoy your morning cup of coffee, making sure it’s got a Smithsonian Bird Friendly® Certification can be a productive way to start your morning.
5. Turn off the lights during migration season
Migratory birds use starlight to find their way on their long journeys — which makes light pollution a serious threat. Drawn off course by bright, artificial lighting, birds can wind up fatally colliding with windows or wasting precious time and energy that they need to survive. Turning off nonessential lighting during migration seasons can help make their journeys a little easier – and save energy!
6. Get involved and share the love of birds
There are many organizations and groups that work to protect and support birds - you can get involved by volunteering, joining a local birding group or checking out organizations that work on behalf of birds, including those that work be more inclusive and bring diversity to the birding world. Joining forces with others who have the same goal of protecting wildlife is a fun way to find your flock and make sure there are mentorship opportunities and community available for everyone who wants to become involved.
And of course, tuning into BirdNote on the radio or via your favorite podcast streaming app to listen to stories about birds every day can provide you with even more ways to help birds. Learn about bird behaviors, people who are going to great lengths to help birds and so many different ways we can all make a difference for birds all over the world. Check out BirdNote Daily, Bring Birds Back, Threatened and BirdNote en Español.
Palm Warbler © Mick Thompson