40 Things You Can Do to Help Raptors
Our Top 10 Things You Can Do for Raptors is on the back of our Spring 2014 Raptor Release newsletter.
11. Make your windows safer for birds. Bird mortality from window strikes has been recorded in more than half the bird species in the United States. Project BirdSafe is one place for great information here: http://mn.audubon.org/project-birdsafe.
12. Shop smart. Buy items that are packaged in recyclable material and recycle it. Buy paper that has a high recycled content.
13. If you have gift to give-- furoshiki it! Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping things with cloth. Here is a link to images of many ways you can use this creative way to give gifts all year long. http://www.env.go.jp/en/focus/attach/060403-5.html . This reduces paper that is often not recyclable in the waste stream.
14. Knowledge is power. Find out how big your ecological footprint is—take the quiz! http://www.myfootprint.org/
15. Get involved with citizen science projects related to raptors and other birds. You and your family can personally contribute to understanding more about birds. Christmas Bird Counts, the Great Backyard Bird Count and Project FeederWatch are just a few you can participate in.
16. Mouse control - if you get mice in your home and decide to use lethal methods of removal use the old fashioned snap traps instead of poison to kill them. This prevents other animals---red tailed hawks for example—from catching a dying mouse and getting a dose of poison themselves. After you have removed or excluded the mice from your house make sure you find where they are finding access and repair that area to prevent future access.
17. We all live downstream. Use the least toxic or non-toxic products inside your home for cleaning and outside your home on your lawn and garden. http://reduce.org/ and http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/living-green/living-green-citizen/household-hazardous-waste/list.html
18. Catch rain with rain barrels under your downspouts. Instead of the water going into the street gutter use it to water your plants during dry times.
19. Stay on trails when you bike or hike. It ensures the health of the plants and animals who share the space with you.
20. Enjoy birds from a distance. Birds need space for feeding, nesting, and other daily activities. Approaching too closely may cause them to become nervous and deplete much-needed energy reserves. During the nesting season, it may even result in loss of eggs or young to predators.
21. Build or purchase bird houses. Cavity-nesting species like American kestrels will thank you for it!
22. Wash your clothes in cold or warm but not hot. And only launder when you have a full load.
23. Drink water from the tap. Bring your own re-usable water bottle instead of buying/using the plastic water bottles you throw away (or recycle).
24. Plant native trees! Plant native bushes! These are important for cover and food for both migrating and nesting birds.
25. Buy second hand from a second hand store or garage/yard sale. Donate used items instead of throwing them away.
26. Adjust your thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer.
27. Reduce or eliminate pesticide and herbicide use. Using fewer chemicals in your yard and home helps keep wildlife, pets and people healthy.
28. Drink "bird friendly" coffee and invest in your own coffee cup that you bring to the coffee shop.
29. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. The bright lights of nighttime city skylines confuse and disorient migrating birds that need to see the stars to follow their migration routes. Many cities now participate in "Lights Out" programs to remove that obstacle during peak migration periods.
30. Use re-usable bags to the stores. Cut down on the amount of plastic bags you use.
31. Use rechargeable batteries.
32. Keep cats inside. Keeping cats indoors ensures that birds outdoors stay safe and cats benefit too; indoor cats live much longer than cats that go outside.
33. Use old crockery, pie plates and trays to create rustic feeders or unique bird baths. An old cup can also become a birdseed scoop, or a plate can be a simple baffle or feeder cover.
34. Donate old bird watching equipment such as binoculars or spotting scopes to local bird watching groups—they can get them to schools or biologists in other countries who may not have the resources they need.
35. Clean Your Bird Feeders. Dirty feeders can spread disease. Disinfect and clean out old seed from feeders frequently and put fresh water in your bird bath every day.
36. In January, use your old Christmas tree to build a brush pile for instant bird shelter, or chop the trunk into pieces for feeders.
37. Unplug appliances (toasters, TV, coffee makers) when not in use. They consume phantom loads of electricity.
38. The mesh bags that hold onions or other produce can be recycled for homemade suet feeders or nut feeders. They can also be used to offer nesting material to birds.
39. Don’t litter on the highways and other roadways. Participating in local litter cleanups along beaches, rivers, parks and other bird-friendly habitats is a great way to keep birds' resting places safe and suitable.
40. Come visit The Raptor Center!
All of the 40 things listed can help the conservation of raptors and the world we share. How you ask? Saving energy leaves more resources for the future and cuts down on pollution. Conserving water is the same thing and we all need water. And, keeping the water clean (instead of cleaning it up) is something we all can get behind. Making space for wildlife by planting native plants creates habitat for many of the local wild neighbors---which also creates habitat for your local raptors. And learning about raptors and the world around us helps to make us critical thinkers. We need to ask good questions and the answers are not always simple. Help The Raptor Center soar for another 40 years. Better yet, help raptors soar toward a better future for them AND us by being thoughtful about your everyday choices.