7 Ways to Protect the Birds in Your Yard

Birds are under attack! Not just from cats and other predators, but from environmental factors, too. Climate change, in particular, is taking a big toll on birds, according to this recent report from the National Audubon Society. Global warming is changing the habitats where many birds live, forcing them to move into different regions that may not offer the food and shelter they’ve evolved to expect.

One way you can help is by doing your part to use less energy. But it’s important to help protect the birds in your yard and neighborhood, too. Here’s how.

1) Provide a source of water. Set up some clean water sources that birds can use for drinking and feeding. Elevated bird baths that are out in the open are a good option, so that predators, especially outdoor cats, can easily be seen. Change the water every other day and scrub out occasionally with a wiry brush so that algae doesn’t build up on the bottom of the dish or bowl.

2) Elevate bird feeders. If you opt to feed birds, make sure the feeders are elevated as another way to protect against cats. You can also put a squirrel protector on the bird feeder. This inverted structure looks a little like an umbrella. Positioned below the feeder but on the pole, it prevents squirrels from getting to the seeds.

3) Keep your cat indoors, especially during the day. Cats can’t help themselves. They’re predators, and they’ll pounce on a bird if they get a chance. If your cat must go outside, try to restrict the time to after dark, when most birds will be safely roosting in the top branches of trees. You can also put a bell on your cat’s collar, which will tinkle and alert the bird that a cat is approaching.

4) Plant native plants and trees. Native landscape gives birds cover, food, and places where they can build their nests. You can check with your county extension service or local gardening center to determine which plants are native to your area.

5) Put up bird houses. Bird houses or nest boxes are especially helpful in urban and suburban neighborhoods where nesting trees may be scarce. Clean out the bird houses in late winter; after a while, they can get so filled with sticks and other material that there’s no room for the bird to nest.

6) Garden organically. Birds feed on insects, worms, seeds, berries and fruit that grow in your landscape. When you spray your lawn or garden with pesticides and herbicides, those toxic chemicals can poison the birds that eat them, as well. Skip the chemicals in favor of biological controls that maintain a healthy balance and keep the birds singing.

7) Reduce window strikes. Some scientists estimate that birds flying into windows that reflect the scenery around them may be second only to habitat loss in accounting for bird deaths each year. Hang bird feeders well away from windows. Tape long strips of mylar tape or weather-resistant fabric to your windows to scare birds away. Draw your shades at night so migrating birds will not be attracted by the light during their long journeys north and south. Awnings can also shade your windows and reduce the reflections that birds mistake for trees and forests.

How do you protect birds?

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86 comments

Sonia M
Sonia M6 months ago

Good tips thanks for sharing.

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Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

Great tips, sharing

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Theresa Hobmeier
Theresa Hobmeier3 years ago

Birds are in our yard as we have a fountain with 2 levels one for the birds to drink water & one to bathe. We have crows, bluebirds & doves that love to bathe. Also have a tray of seeds for them. Once in awhile butterflies come to go all around our beautiful tree.
When birds fly they make the air pure. We have orchids in our patio & a parakeet in a cage which makes the air pure in the patio also flowers on our table. I water them 3x a day & we have ivy in our house which also makes the air pure for us. Theresa Hobmeier, Ther1929@aol.com

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

thanks

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Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

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william Miller
william Miller3 years ago

birds love out yarden we have lots of feeders with foods for different birds. Sad news my Hummers left yesterday I will leave the feeders up for a while longer for the birds still migrating

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Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynik3 years ago

Very actual when autumn comes :)
Thanks for sharing :)

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Kelly M.
Kelly R3 years ago

Shared
We have lots of birds at our feeders

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Erin H.
Erin H3 years ago

Interesting article, thank you!

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Alicia N.
Alicia N3 years ago

thanks

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