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8 ways birders can help birds on Earth Day

Earth Day
Bobolink and other grassland birds are particularly vulnerable to negative impacts from pesticides. Photo by Linda Wegs

Today, April 22, is Earth Day. The Earth Day Network’s theme this year is “Protect Our Species,” and so the organization is calling attention to endangered and threatened species: bees, coral reefs, elephants, birds, insects, whales, and more.

“Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered,” the organizers write. “Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.

“The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides to name a few. The impacts are far reaching. If we do not act now, extinction may be humanity’s most enduring legacy.”

Here are eight steps the Earth Day Network identifies that everyone can take to help birds: 

1, Turn off the lights in your home or office to prevent birds from colliding into windows. (Find products to help prevent window collisions here.)

2, Keep cats inside to prevent them from hunting birds.

3, Continue to advocate for additional land protection for birds under the Endangered Species Act in the United States.

4, Take Earth Day Network’s pesticide pledge to avoid using any and all pesticides or insecticides. Birds can ingest these harmful chemicals directly, and recent research has shown that these products can remain in the soil for months after their use. And another study found that commonly used insecticides are directly toxic to seed-eating songbirds. 

5, Do not litter. Trash should be properly disposed of and plastic should be recycled. Additionally, remove plastic litter when you see it to prevent birds from ingesting it. And don’t release balloons! 

6, Take personal steps to end plastic pollution.

7, Test your knowledge about threats to ocean ecosystems with the Oceans Plastic Pollution Quiz.

8, Support the passage of the Bird-Safe Building Act.


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Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and You can reach him at [email protected].

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