At last week’s joint meeting of Wild Ones Fox Valley Area and Winnebago Audubon, Kim Grveles, an avian ecologist with the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative, outlined a number of things we can do to help birds as they migrate over our habitats. Here are nine things we can do to help migratory birds:
- Plant native plants to use as resting stops while migrating.
- Remove invasive plants and preserve native trees and shrubs.
- Provide fresh water. A frog pond, water garden, bird bath or shallow water dish will get lots of use, especially if the water is dripping, splashing and/or moving.
- Provide feeders with meal worms and black sunflower and niger (or thistle) seed to augment nutrition. Place feeders away from windows and near the natural protection of available trees and shrubs. Supplement with fruit (orange halves, grapes, apple slices) and suet.
- Build a brush pile for shelter and as a forage site.
- Prevent collisions with reflective glass by using non-reflective window coatings, window screens, awnings, flash tape or netting.
- Prevent collisions with your vehicle by watching for birds and safely slowing down when you see one in your path. Keep pet cats indoors or confined to enclosures when outdoors. It is estimated hundreds of millions of birds are killed by cats in the United States each year.
- Limit or avoid pesticide use on your property. Remember, birds act as natural pesticides.
- Support the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative and other important bird conservation initiatives promoted throughout the various USA flyways.
The Great Lakes region and especially the Lake Michigan basin is a heavily used flyway and migratory birds need our assistance since so much of their natural habitat is no longer available. If you haven’t already undertaken some of the items listed above, please consider doing so at your earliest convenience.
Did you know that the Convention between the United States and Great Britain for the Protection of Migratory Birds was signed on August 16, 1916. This Convention and the three others that followed with Mexico, Japan and Russia are the cornerstones of migratory bird conservation across international borders and are referred to as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).