Plant a garden. Be a citizen scientist. Join “Lights Out.”
Your steps can make a difference.
1. Make your yard a bird oasis
Start by providing the five basics: clean water, plants with flowers for nectar and insects (songbirds feed insects to their young), fruit-bearing plants to provide fuel for migration and winter, layers of plants for cover and thermal protection, and nesting habitat and materials. Native plants are key—their architecture, flowers, fruits, and scents are ideal for restoring the communities and relationships birds depend on. Yards that mimic surrounding natural plant communities not only attract more kinds of birds, they could help reverse the loss of urban biodiversity, according to new research.
2. Become a scientist
Everyday bird observations provide crucial data for scientists studying the big and small questions about bird lives, from migration to the effects of global climate change. You can help by becoming a citizen scientist, observing and noting the kinds of birds you see. Join the Great Backyard Bird Count—in 2012 it tallied 17.4 million observations and 623 species, including an influx of snowy owls from the Arctic—sign up for a local Christmas Bird Count or enlist in a new effort to track hummingbirds. Visit audubon.org/citizenscience for more. Track your sightings on eBird, a website developed by Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
This article brought to The Bird Watch by Robert Wall, Sangre de Cristo Audubon Society webmaster.