Some Tips to Help Birds Whether you Live in Panama or Iowa

By patrick on

Birds are the most popular type of animal to watch. Their popularity stems from their colorful plumages, pleasant songs, and the fact that they can fly and are easier to see than other animals. However, unfortunately, a lot of bird species are in trouble. Habitat destruction, high pesticide loads in the environment, and other factors have resulted in steady, on-going declinesin many bird species in many parts of the world, even common, familiar species.

The Kentucky Warbler is one of many migrant bird species that has declined. Photo by Linda Scott.

The incredible Resplendent Quetzal has declined as a result of destruction of its cloud forest habitat.

Birds need as much help as we can give them and here are some easy tips provided by one of our birding app contributors, Linda Scott, to help reduce bird mortality in your garden:

  • Cover windows with screens: When birds don’t realize that a window is present, they can fly right into it. This is a major source of bird mortality and can be prevented by putting screens on the windows of your home. This is a relatively low cost and simple way for you to save the lives of birds.
  • Keep cats indoors: If you have a cat, do not let it outside unless it is in an enclosure that prevents it from killing birds. Cats can’t help but follow their instincts to hunt and kill birds and other animals. They don’t need to do this to eat and in fact, end up acting as an introduced predator (since the ancestor of the House Cat is native to arid regions of Africa). Since cats are more likely to be injured, killed by Coyotes, and are subject to disease when outside, they will be healthier indoors in any case. This is also true for dogs that hunt or molest birds.
  • Landscape for birds: Every bit of green space helps and if you plant native species that provide food and shelter for birds, you will be helping them and seeing more birds in your yard. This also means avoiding the use of chemicals in the yard to kill plants and insects. It’s all a matter of perspective but we think that a yard with a variety of beautiful native plants, butterflies, and birds looks far more appealing than a sterile expanse of short grass maintained with potentially hazardous chemicals.

    Black-chested Jay is one of many species that visits Linda Scott’s place in western Panama because she provides habitat for birds. Photo by Linda Scott

  • Support bird habitat: This means supporting efforts to protect the environment in general and also the specific habitats that birds need for survival. Efforts to live in a sustainable manner with your surroundings fall into this category.
  • Support the efforts of groups that are taking steps to try to stop the downward trend in bird populations: Just that. Support organizations and groups that are making active steps to study birds, preserve their habitat, carry our conservation education, reforest, and promote sustainable living.

These are some easy steps that we follow because although we make birding apps for Costa Rica, Panama, and other places, we also believe in conservation of birds and biodiversity and living with our natural surroundings in a more sustainable, connected manner.

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