While some birds remain in one area throughout the year, most are condemned to constantly follow their food source.
As green leaves emerge each spring, so do millions of caterpillars and insects. Coinciding with this event, an array of birds, like orioles, vireos, flycatchers, warblers and swallows, return to North America and feast upon the abundant insects.
Nationwide, 71 percent of the land is privately owned. Private land is almost equally divided between range, forest, crops, pasture and other land uses.
- Create Backyard Habitat: By planting native vegetation, homeowners can provide badly needed food and cover for birds and other wildlife. Plant a variety of trees, shrubs and plants and remember to provide a source of water.
- Try Shade-Grown Coffee: Wintering habitats in Central and South America are also being altered. If you’re a coffee lover, consider buying shade-grown coffee. Coffee grown on clear-cut plantations destroys critical wintering habitat for migratory birds.
- Keep Cats Indoors: There are at least 68 million pet cats in the United States. Birds make up 20–30 percent of outdoor cats’ prey. Cat owners can reduce the number of birds maimed and killed simply by keeping their cats indoors.
- Reduce Chemical Use: Pesticides are often harmful for birds. While pesticides are intended to control specific pests, some harm or kill non-target species. Contact your state university’s cooperative extension service for more information about low impact solutions to pest problems.