Audubon motto: Where Birds Thrive, People Prosper
What a lovely thought! I saw this bumper sticker at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary in Santa Fe.
I asked Samantha Funk, Education Manager & Summer Camp Director, about the motto and she replied “The idea reflects the idea that when ecosystems are protected, when birds have what they need to prosper (clean water, healthy habitat and a stable climate), then those same benefits translate to people.”
What a homeowner can do to attract wildlife in a responsible way?
“Given that the natural habitat of many birds and other wildlife is encroached upon or destroyed to make way for humans and our homes, many responsible homeowners might be wondering what they can do for wildlife in their own backyards, and may hear some conflicting advice. For example, in recent years some researchers have been studying how the ways in which humans feed wild animals affects the spread of infectious disease, parasites, and viruses amongst those populations. It’s true that bird feeders in a backyard may bring mixed species of birds together in ways not usually seen in nature, and in greater numbers in closer proximity. This dynamic allows for pathogens to spread more easily.
However, it can be important and helpful to supply food for birds in your backyard, especially for migrating species, whose migratory timing may have become mismatched due to the effects of climate change on natural phenological cycles. As temperatures increase and patterns of precipitation change, the peak availability of critical food sources is often occurring earlier in the spring. Some migrating birds might miss this window of opportunity which is critical for breeding and nesting. There are some practical and responsible steps homeowners can take to make their backyards and homes more bird and wildlife friendly. These include:
· Plant native species of plants: Planting a variety of native plants in your yard not only provides shelter and cover for wildlife, but also important food sources. For example, native plants support native insects, which help sustain bird populations. During nesting season 96% of songbirds feed their young on insect protein. Non-native plants are host to far fewer insect herbivores than native plants.
· Clean and disinfect feeders regularly: Wild Birds Unlimited has a good guide available https://www.wbu.com/bird-feeder-care-cleaning/
· Provide a source of water: A simple bird bath can provide drinking water and a place to bathe, but be sure to clean/disinfect regularly and provide fresh water.
· When setting out bird feeders, keep in mind there are a variety of seed types and feeders that will attract different species.
· Finally, when making a bird friendly backyard please keep in mind the dangers posed by cats and windows. If you have a cat, consider keeping it indoors or attaching a bell to its collar. Cat predation is especially devastating on fragmented landscapes where birds already have severely limited opportunities to feed, rest, and breed. Consider also keeping feeders a safe distance away from windows, or applying decals to break up window reflections. Its estimated that 100 million birds or more die from window strikes each year.”
One of the small ways that Green Star Builders helps animals is by keeping our build sites free of food waste that would attract them inside where they could become trapped or injured. We stipulate this in every subcontractor agreement.