Green Tips: Caring for endangered birds

Green Tips | September 20, 2018

One hundred and forty-five animals are protected in New York under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Amongst these, there are 39 bird species that are either endangered, threatened, or under special concern, including the bald eagle, short-eared owl, and osprey. This decline is caused mainly by habitat loss and a decreased food supply. Pesticides and hunting have also contributed to the population declines.

The ESA is a federal law that was enacted in 1973 to protect animals from extinction. The law prohibits importation, exportation, possession, sales, and transportation of any protected species, enforced through civil and criminal penalties.

Birds help provide pest control, disperse seeds, and often work as prey for other animals. If the population of any bird species rapidly declines, it hurts the population of its predators, hurting the population of their predators, and so on. Follow these tips to learn how you can protect endangered birds.

Use reusable bags. A study by Ocean Crusaders found that it takes just 4 family shopping trips to accumulate 60 shopping bags and  1 million seabirds are killed by plastic bags each year. When going to the supermarket or going to a store, avoid disposable plastic bags and instead bring your own reusable bags.

Protect birds from windows. Another large cause of bird deaths is window collisions. According to the Washington Post, 988 million birds die each year from these window collisions all over the US. Put up curtains or window decals in order to prevent bird injury or death.

Protect bird habitats. Birds need a place to live so helping to restore their habitats by participating in a forest cleanup is helpful to both the environment and the bird populations. Thirteen million hectares of forest have been converted for other uses or destroyed by natural causes; that number gets bigger every day. After they’re cleaned-up, forests are more likely to get used which can ensure its protection. As of now, only 10% of forests are officially protected. Without these vital habitats, bird populations are declining. Read our tips on how to organize your own clean-up.

Set up a bird habitat in your backyard. By installing a birdbath or a feeder, you can provide a healthy and clean source of food and water for birds. This “sanctuary” will help with mating and can lead to repopulation of a decreasing species. Click here to learn more about how to make your own backyard habitat.  

Be proactive in government outreach. Reach out to your local Congressmember and ask them to support local bird populations and the environment. Some bills already in place to protect birds include the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp Act, and Bald & Gold Eagle Protection Act. Learn more about federal environmental legislation here.

< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit

Get Involved