Easy Ways to Help at Home
With demand for housing, retail, transportation, infrastructure, etc., on the rise, preserving habitat for wildlife can be difficult. Humans live in a fast-paced environment and rarely think about the effects their daily lives and activities might have on birds. As a consequence, raptors face manmade challenges and obstacles every day. Here are some easy things you can do to keep raptors safe and support them in their habitats:
- Safe windows – Birds frequently fly into windows (“window strikes”). These accidental collisions can injure or even kill birds. To lower the chances of a fatal strike at your home or workplace, put an outer screen over the window to lessen the impact, or have something in the window to show the bird there is a solid barrier they cannot fly through (for example: decals, film, curtains, bird-safe glass). Learn more about preventing window collisions at Cornell University’s All About Birds site.
- Turn the lights off – Bright lights inside and on the outside of buildings confuse and disorient birds at night when they need to follow the stars while migrating. Be sure to turn the lights off when you walk out of a room.
- Don’t get too close – If you come across a raptor in the wild, keep a safe distance between you and the bird. Getting too close to wild birds can disrupt their normal behaviors and cause stress.
- Clean bird feeders and bird baths – Just like unclean water sources can spread germs and diseases among humans, unmaintained bird feeders and bird baths can spread illnesses between birds. Make sure to clean your bird feeders and bird baths consistently to prevent disease from spreading.
- Do not use poisons to kill pests – Many raptors and other birds hunt species considered pests (e.g. rats, mice, squirrels), so when rodents consume poison and a raptor eats the poisoned rodent, both may end up dying. Check out Raptors are the Solution (RATS) and the Hungry Owl Project for more information and poison-free alternatives.
- Conserve energy and reduce waste – Eating human trash and/or food can be very detrimental to a raptor’s health. Be sure to dispose of your garbage and food by throwing it into recycling or trash bins that birds cannot get into. In particular, make sure to throw away fishing gear because not only may raptors and other birds try to eat it, but they may also get entangled in it, causing injuries.
- Make a nest box – Urban growth is threatening raptors’ natural habitats and populations. Making a nest box and placing it on your property provides a place where cavity-nesting species can raise their young. Learn how to make an owl box here.