As the migratory birds of North America start their yearly trek to warmer areas, birdwatchers may feast their eyes on new visitors passing through backyards and parks. While this yearly event may be often ignored by the average citizen, our daily actions have a definite impact on bird populations no matter where you live. Certain bird species are threatened by human activities, reduced habitats, pollution, and climate change, among other factors. Simple steps we take at home and in our community can protect the environment and go a long way to protect our avian visitors during their migration.
At home, my mother and I have always debated which is better for the birds: providing bird feeders with abundant birdseeds year-round or planting native plants in the backyard. I thought that by providing birdfeeders along migratory routes you were making birds stay longer in northern areas instead of migrating on time. Research on the subject indicated that seasonal changes rather than abundance of seeds were the determining factor for bird migration. There isn’t one easy answer to the birdfeeder debate. Definitely, if you decide to set up birdfeeders in your backyard, maintenance and placement of the feeder play a role in the protection of the birds. Furthermore, you should clean the feeders regularly to prevent mold from developing and harming the birds. Personally, I prefer greenscaping techniques like integrated pest management and planting native shrubs and trees that naturally invite birds and other wildlife to your backyard.
There is no doubt that pollution prevention and bird conservation initiatives [http://www.epa.gov/owow/birds/bird.html] overall will both have a positive impact on our feathered friends and our Planet Earth. So, how about pledging to take five simple steps in environmental protection? You can start today! [http://www.epa.gov/pick5/]
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.