In the coming year National Audubon Society will be joining with many other conservation organizations to make 2018 “The Year of the Bird.”
That’s because not only is it the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a critical piece of legislation that continues to save countless birds’ lives, but also because our birds are facing many new and serious threats that were not or could not be envisioned 100 years ago.
While these groups bring attention to our birds on a national level, Bergen County Audubon Society will be contacting our local and County officials throughout the area asking that we all work together to protect and defend our birds. Also we will be reminding businesses and home owners that there is much more we can do together through 2018 and beyond to protect and defend the health of our birds right in our own backyard.
* We will be asking our Elected representatives to be more proactive and do better to preserve and protect open space. Habitat is still being lost at an alarming rate and now every acre matters more than ever to the future of migratory birds.
* We will ask that our local and county parks be managed at least in part as bird habitat. By using native plants in place of exotics and putting up nest boxes in our parks we will help migratory birds survive their long, arduous journey and create a place where they can rest and raise young.
* We need to be sure to urge developers to build more bird friendly by using glass that prevents bird strikes which kill millions of birds each year
*We need to eliminate pesticides and herbicides not only on public property but also in commercial buildings and our own backyards .
Homeowners also need to do their part in protecting birds. We can do more to prevent bird window strikes, protect birds by keeping our cats indoors and landscape our backyards with native plants.
Bergen County Audubon Society along with our partners will also continue and expand our longstanding efforts to help create and improve bird and wildlife habitat throughout the region.
Here is a list of ways you as an individual can help make 2018 the Year of the Bird a great success
1-Create a Wildlife Habitat in your Backyard, Schoolyard or anywhere
With the incredible loss of Natural places here in New Jersey creating a backyard Wildlife Habitat can mean survival for many of our birds. By providing food, water, shelter and places to raise young you can have an important positive impact on all birds, both migratory and our year round birds
2-Introduce a child to birding and nature
Helping our next generation to learn about birds is critical in keeping our children connected to nature. Teaching them to love nature the way you do will enable them to grow up to be caring and nurturing adults who will define the future of our environment. So take a kid out birding, help start a bird club in schools or with Scout groups
3-Become a Community activist
Our local cities and towns need environmentally minded people to get involved in municipal commissions, planning boards and schools, to have more environmentally sound decisions made for everyone, so get out there and be heard and get involved to help create a better and healthier community for both you and our birds
4-Keep your cats indoors
Nobody loves animals more than me, so for the sake of the cats and the lives of millions of birds please keep your cats indoors. Your cats and the birds will thank you for it.
5-Join and be active in a Local Conservation group
Any group is only as strong as its members, so get off the couch and ask how you can help your favorite conservation organization, and join up! There is strength in numbers.
6-Drink Shade grown coffee
One cup of shade-grown coffee will preserve more than two square feet of rainforest — and the birds that inhabit the trees. So make sure your daily cup of coffee is Organic and shade grown
7- Recommend to your town, school system and whoever will listen to use native plants in the landscape
Our native plants are the foundation to a healthy bio-diverse bird habitat. You can have an almost instant positive impact on your environment by planting native plants in your backyard and anywhere and everywhere you can. Not only our birds, but our native bees and butterflies will also thank you for it
8-Part with plastics
The first plastic bags were produced in 1957, according to Worldwatch Institute, and we now throw away 100 billion a year. Many eventually wash into the ocean to join oceanic garbage patches, drifting gyres of trash that spread over huge sea areas. Every year the floating “bladders” of these bags kill hundreds of thousands of seabirds–along with sea turtles and marine mammals–
9-Keep pesticides out of your yard, parks and school grounds
It is near insanity to plant flowers, shrubs, and trees for our birds and then douse them in toxic waste. But that is what many gardeners do by using pesticides at home.
Since Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” was published five decades ago, pesticide use in North America has grown to exceed 1.1 billion pounds annually. Roughly eight percent of that is applied to yards and gardens.
One particular lawn-care pesticide, diazinon, has been implicated in more than 150 mass bird die-offs. At the same time, U.S. researchers estimate that agricultural use kills 67 million birds each year. Pesticides also cause longer-term, potentially lethal effects ranging from eggshell thinning to neurological damage, and may be linked to human food allergies.
10- Prevent Bird Collisions with Your Windows
Collisions are one of the most frequent causes of bird deaths. Birds see nature reflected in the window or mistake houseplants inside the building for outdoor plants and fly into the glass. Putting up curtains or window decals helps make the window visible to birds.
These are only a few ways that we can all join in to help our threatened bird populations. Please join us in the coming year for seminars, nature walks and special events that will focus on making our environment a better place for all in the “Year of the Bird.” Go to http://www.bergencountyaudubon.org/ for more information.