Birds

Bird Friendly Backyards

Make a difference in your own backyard.

Creating Bird-Friendly Backyards and Communities:

The majority of people in the U.S. and much of the world now live in cities instead of rural areas. Human development of natural ecosystems fragments them and drastically changes their biological diversity, and their ability to function normally.  But what if each of these households could create an oasis for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife in their outdoor space?  Collectively, it is possible for individuals to actually make a difference for many species by offering food, water, and shelter. When these oases can become interconnected via travel corridors, this increases their impact even more.

One of the main strategies the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center is working with is helping to create urban and suburban landscapes that are more bird and wildlife-friendly.  And there are many other activities besides planting that can help reduce the threats which kill millions of birds every year.  We’ve listed some of these threats and actions below, with links to other sites with related information.

Sit inside the nature center and count how many birds you can see at our feeders! Photo: Becky Wylie

You Can Make a Difference: 

  • Removing exotic and invasive plant species and planting native plants to your area. A great resource for this is our partner, the Missouri Wildflowers Nursery
  • Reduce the amount of pesticides and other chemicals used outdoors. Many chemicals do not discriminate between killing beneficial and pests.
  • Keep cats indoors and spay and neuter cats. A recent study by scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute reported that between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds are killed each year by cats roaming outdoors.
  • One of the biggest killers of migratory birds is collisions with manmade structures - such as windows. Placing window decals, sun catchers, tape strips, ribbons, or anything of your choosing in a dense pattern in the “2x4” format (a single decal will not work).
  • Dead trees (also known as snags) are beneficial to wildlife and are desirable habitat. If the tree does not pose any harm to structures, leave it be. You'll be amazed at the birds and wildlife take up residence in nature's own "apartment complex." 
  • Stop and think before dumping anything on the ground or in a storm drain. Dispose household hazardous waste at designated collection sites such as the Joplin Recycling Center. Remember, everything flows downstream.

Resources: 

Native Plants:  http://mowildflowers.net/

Creating Bird Friendly Communities:  http://www.audubon.org/conservation/creating-bird-friendly-communities 

Lights Out Project: http://www.audubon.org/conservation/project/lights-out

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