New year, new ways to support backyard birds
As the new year begins, it’s a good time to start thinking about the ways we can help the world around us. A great place to start is right in your backyard. I’m Bird Keeper Abbi, and I’m here to tell you about some simple ways to help our native animals, especially birds!
Reduce window collisions. Birds can confuse reflections of trees in windows as habitat for them to utilize. Find ways to break up reflections, by using things like bird deterrent tape, to reduce these accidents. It helps birds and can be a great way to add some flair to your home. Check out Zoo Atlanta’s Scaly Slimy Spectacular, all decked out in stylish polka dots.
Help birds on migration paths. Turn off unneeded lights at night so nighttime migrating birds won’t confuse artificial light with natural light and lose their way. This is especially important during migration season. Some birds use the stars to navigate. Bright lights can distract the birds and draw them off course. Though migration season doesn’t start until later in the year, this is a good habit to keep up all year round.
Keep cats indoors. Even if a cat is well fed and taken care of, they will still instinctively hunt for prey. This has caused a drastic decline in many of our native bird populations in recent years. Keeping your felines indoors protects them as well as birds and other wildlife.
Enhance boring lawns by planting native plants. Lawns are like vast deserts for animals like birds and butterflies. By switching some of that lawn to native flowers, trees, and other plants, you provide habitat and resources for many species. Check out https://gnps.org/ to find some Georgia native plants for your yard.
Create bird sanctuaries in your backyard. Add features to your outdoor spaces like bird feeders, water sources and small structures to act as shelter. These elements supplement natural resources and attract birds to your backyard.
Reduce your use of single-use plastics. Plastics pollute the ocean as well as other habitats, harming animals like birds. It is hard to cut out plastic use completely, but starting out small can make a huge impact. Zoo Atlanta is doing its part to decrease its plastic use. We do not provide single-use straws at any of our retail eateries or use plastic bags in our gift shops.
Help conservation scientists by becoming a birder. Enjoy the beauty of nature while collecting data. The more scientists can learn about bird locations, migration patterns, and behavior, the better they are able to protect them. By using eBird and other data sharing apps while birding, you can help contribute to the database. There are annual citizen science events that unite worldwide birders to collect bird data. Events like Christmas Bird Count, hosted by Zoo Atlanta, help fill in the data gaps!
Support your local AZA-accredited zoo. Accredited zoos like Zoo Atlanta work hard to help the conservation efforts of all animals great and small. Follow us on social media and take a look at our website to see all the ways Zoo Atlanta is helping animals all around the world.
Keeper I, Birds