KEEP CATS INDOORS.
Pet cats do not have to go outside to hunt in order to have a good life. Some people think that putting a small bell around a cat’s neck will warn birds and protect them, but this does not work as well as simply keeping your kitty inside.
PREVENT PICTURE WINDOW COLLISIONS.
Sometimes, a big pane of glass can reflect the outdoors like a mirror. Birds can’t tell that the glass is there and they fly right into it. If you have a big window or glass door that birds have crashed into, break up the reflections by covering the outside with decals, or hang suncatchers, crystals, or feathers, which work best if they sway in the wind. These must be close together over the entire surface of the glass in order to work.
FEED BIRDS IN YOUR YARD OR ON YOUR BALCONY.
In parts of the country where winters are cold, birds sometimes struggle to find enough food when the temperature drops or snow covers the ground. If you can, put up a suet feeder, available in many pet supply stores. Or make a peanut butter pinecone: Spread natural peanut butter on a pinecone and then roll it in unsalted sunflower seeds or peanuts. Your family can also make this DIY bird feeder using an old bottle. Try to hang it up where the squirrels can’t get to it!
SAFELY DISCARD PLASTIC BAGS AND SIX-PACK HOLDERS.
Before you throw them away or recycle them, take a pair of scissors and snip open every loop. Tie knots in plastic bags before you discard them, so that birds don’t get trapped in them.
AVOID CHEMICAL PESTICIDES AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
Don’t use chemical insect foggers in your yard, and switch to natural, nontoxic methods of pest control for garden plants and flowers. Support farmers who are committed to growing food without using toxic chemicals by eating sustainably grown food as much as you can.
BECOME A “CITIZEN SCIENTIST” IN YOUR OWN HOME.
You identify and count birds coming to your feeder and transmit your data online—it becomes part of a huge database that helps scientists and conservationists who work to protect birds. For more information, check out the Project Feeder Watch website: feederwatch.org. Help kids identify birds they see with this downloadable U.S. state bird map.
Text adapted from National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America, by Jonathan Alderer