Blog Archive: April 2009
This week's highlighted t-shirt is our I Love Ducks design featuring the Birdorable Mallard. Our cute Mallard swims over the phrase I (heart) Ducks on this Women's Fitted T-Shirt. For more designs like this see our Love & Hearts section.
Happy Earth Day to everyone on the planet! If you're reading this I know that you love birds, or you wouldn't be on a website about cute birds. Sadly, birds are in trouble. Sure, you see pigeons, geese and sparrows everywhere, but those birds have adapted to urban habitats. A great many birds, such as meadowlarks and orioles, require natural habitats. They are in danger from habitat destruction and the ever expanding range of humans. Studies by the National Audubon Society show that over 25 percent of American bird species are in serious decline. Earth Day is a great day to contemplate how you can help save our birds. Here are 10 easy things that you can do around the house to conserve our avian friends:
- Do you have a lawn? Shrink your lawn and go organic. Lawn chemicals kill about 7 million birds each year. Manage your lawn organically and reduce it by 25 percent in favor of plants to provide seeds and a nesting place for birds.
- Keep your cats inside. Estimates for the numbers of birds killed per year by household cats and stray cats in the U.S. range into the hundreds of millions. Cats kill many more birds than wind turbines.
- Wake up to bird-friendly coffee. Coffee grown in the shade of tree canopies, rather than on land cleared of other vegation, provides a habitat for many migratory birds such as warblers, hummingbirds and tanagers.
- Fill your yard with native plants to aid birds that are adapted to eating the seeds and berries of native plants.
- Recycle plastic six-pack rings, plastic bags and aluminum cans. Many birds die on landfills after they get stuck in plastic rings, cut themselves on metal cans or get trapped in plastic bags. By recycling plastic you prevent them from ending up on the landfill and killing innocent birds.
- Eat less meat. The production of beef, pork and poultry meat have a huge impact on the environment due to habitat destruction to provide more farmland for grazing cattle. It requires far more acres to produce the same number of calories of meat than of vegetables and grains. In addition, farms that are overcrowded with animals become hotbeds for diseases like bird flu.
- Leave a good part of your yard natural with bushes and ground cover. The more diverse your yard, the greater variety of birds and small mammals you will attract. Also, keep dead trees in your yard. Hundreds of species of birds and animals live in dead trees and feed on the insects there. Top off, rather than chop down, dead trees.
- Many birds die each year from crashing into windows. More birds are killed each year from striking windows than from any other direct cause of death, and the problem is growing as window sizes increase and houses get larger. Use window decals / stickers or cover your windows with blinds, awnings or shutters to minimize the reflection of the sky.
- Have a bird bath year-round. Birds require bathing to keep their feathers clean and flexible and to maintain healthy plumage. Bird baths also provide a safe place for wild birds to bathe and it is a reliable source of clean drinking water.
- Support your local bird conservation program and forest preserves. Also, educate yourself and your friends and family about birds and the importance of conservation. Go outside and take your family birding.
For more ways on helping birds check out the book 101 Ways to Help Birds (available on Amazon) by Laura Erickson. Happy Earth Day.
This Earth Day we've added the 175th species to Birdorable: the Egyptian Vulture. This striking black-and-white bird with yellow face lives in southern Europe, northern Africa and southern Asia. Unfortunately, its numbers are in decline over large parts of its range.
In Europe and most of the Middle East it is only half as plentiful as it was about twenty years ago, and the populations in India and southwestern Africa have collapsed almost entirely. In Egypt this bird is also known as the Pharaoh's Chicken because of its relationship with Ancient Egypt's oldest deity, Nekhbet. They referred to the bird as the Mother of Mothers and it was depicted on the front of the pharaoh's crown.
The nurturing behavior of these vultures while rearing their young led to a view of them as model parents. We saw these two Egyptian Vultures from a boat on the Chambal River in Rajasthan, India:
Previous blog posts
- T-Shirt Tuesday: Flying Sandhill Cranes (4/7/2015)
- Crane Extremes! More Facts for Crane Week (4/4)
- Crane Week Fun: Free Coloring Pages (4/3)
- Species Profile: Red-crowned Crane (4/2)
- New Crane Species Discovered in South America (4/1)
- Cranes of the World Map for Crane Week (3/31)
- Interesting Crane Facts (3/30)
- It's Time for Crane Week! (3/29)
- T-Shirt Tuesday: Save the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (3/24)
- Fun Facts about Monk Parakeets (3/18)
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Here are some of our favorite birding and bird-related blogs and websites:
- ABA Blog
- Birder Gifts
- Birding is Fun!
- Ecology Matters
- Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation
- Heckled by Parrots
- Magnificent Frigatebird
- My Condor
- Powered by Birds
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- Red and the Peanut
- Round Robin
- The Little Nuthatch
- The Tiny Aviary
- The Zen Birdfeeder
- Twin Beaks
- Vickie Henderson Art