Bird Conservation: What You Can Do
Related EPA Programs
Bird Conservation Initiatives
What You Can Do
Bird Conservation Tools
There are many things that you can do in your private or professional life to further the conservation of birds and their habitats. While any individual's contributions will vary with available time and money and with location, in the aggregate our individual contributions can and do make a real difference. More than any other group of animals, birds have already benefitted substantially from the actions of individual citizens through volunteer monitoring, habitat improvement, participation in local and other larger conservation projects, and many other activities. Listed below are a few simple actions that you can take to help out.
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- Familiarize yourself with contemporary bird conservation issues
- Participate in volunteer monitoring activities that help to document the status and trends of bird populations
- Take steps to enhance and maintain good bird habitat on your own property or through similar projects with your employer
- Participate in a local or state bird conservation initiative
- Promote bird conservation in other local conservation or environmental quality activities, such as watershed or estuary management
- Consider other personal or lifestyle actions that can benefit birds
Familiarize yourself with contemporary bird conservation issues
Here are some suggested sources of information that will provide a good background for exploring the many opportunities potentially available to you:
- A comprehensive paper on bird conservation issues prepared for EPA that includes information on the importance, needs, status, threats, conservation actions, and other topics related to birds, including references and links to useful web sites.
- The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's fact sheet on Neotropical Migratory Bird Basics which discusses key conservation issues affecting migratory birds. It includes a list of selected books that may be found in libraries.
- Strategies for Bird Conservation: the Partners in Flight Planning Process
This site is the electronic proceedings of a 1995 international workshop which contains many scientific papers on various aspects of bird conservation.
- Importance of Migratory Stopovers
This is a short paper on this critical aspect of bird conservation with a focus on shorebirds.
- A Guide to Bird Education Resources is an annotated bibliography of materials oriented toward education in bird conservation, focusing on children.
- To learn which species of birds are of highest conservation priority in your state or the nation, check out the Watch List compiled by Partners in Flight.
Participate in volunteer monitoring activities that help to document the status and trends of bird populations
There are many opportunities in this area, depending on your level of interest, ability to commit time, and level of expertise in bird identification. Sources of further information include:
- Citizen Science Portal is the web page of a growing group of volunteer monitoring projects, sponsored by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. Most of the individual projects provide for Internet-based reporting of data.
- The Breeding Bird Survey is the United States' largest and longest running survey of breeding birds, including a roadside survey of 4100 permanent active routes. Over 2500 skilled amateur birders and professional biologists participate in the program each year.
Take steps to enhance and maintain good bird habitat on your own property or through similar projects with your employer.
Even small, low cost improvements can help provide critical breeding, wintering, or migratory stopover habitat while affording other environmental benefits such as lowered requirements for watering, fertilizers, and pesticides; reduced air pollution from less grass mowing and from more trees that produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide; and improved habitat for other animals such as butterflies and amphibians. Good sources for further information include:
- The National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program.
- The Wildlife Habitat Council's program for corporations and other large landowners.
- Backyard Conservation a cooperative project of the National Association of Conservation Districts, the Wildlife Habitat Council, and the USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service.
- The Windstar Wildlife Institute featuring information on attracting wildlife to your property.
- The The Point Reyes Bird Observatory website for private home and land owners who want to improve their property for bird conservation.
Participate in a local or state bird conservation initiative
Sources of information to assist you in identifying such opportunities include:
- Partners in Flight contacts, especially those listed under the state committee and state agency headers.
- State or local bird clubs or other conservation organizations active in bird conservation. Check out a listing provided by the American Birding Association.
Promote bird conservation in other local conservation or environmental quality activities, such as watershed or estuary management
Even though the principal focus of such efforts may be water quality or other environmental issues, there may be significant opportunities to conserve or enhance habitat of importance to birds. To learn about such activities in your area, check out:
Consider other personal or lifestyle actions that can benefit birds
- Purchasing bird-friendly products. The most notable example is shade-grown coffee, produced in a manner that conserves rain forest habitat in the tropics that is vital for both local and migrating or wintering bird species. To learn more, check out the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's fact sheet on shade-grown coffee.
- Keeping your cat indoors. Studies have shown that free-roaming cats kill hundreds of millions of birds (and other animals) every year in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, check out the American Bird Conservancy's web site on cats.
- Donating your old binoculars and other equipment to Birder's Exchange. They will be sent to Latin America and the Caribbean to support bird monitoring and education projects that will benefit both local birds and North American birds migrating through or wintering in those countries.
- Minimizing household pollution which affects birds and other animals as well as human health. To learn more, check out EPA's At Home and in the Garden web site.