White-throated sparrows have been one of the hardest hit populations in Texas, with a decline of more than 90 million individuals. Free use photo
Exploring Nature: 7 Helpful Steps
I hate to be the bearer of sad tidings, but our birds are in big trouble.
North America is home to nearly three billion fewer birds today compared to 1970.
More than one in four birds has disappeared from the landscape in a mere half century. Biggest losers have come in grassland and Arctic tundra birds. Two hard-hit species in Texas are the dark-eyed junco, which has declined by some 170 million birds, and white-throated sparrow, which has declined by more than 90 million individuals.
All is not lost, however. In fact, here are seven steps you can take to help reverse this gloomy trend:
1. Make your windows safer to prevent bird collisions. Install screens, place blinds to break up reflections and install decals to prevent bird strikes. Over a billion birds die annually from window collisions.
2. Keep cats indoors. Cats kill an estimated 2.6 billion birds annually in the U.S. and Canada. It’s just their nature, so it’s up to cat owners to save the birds.
3. Reduce large expanses of manicured lawns and replace with native plants, bushes and trees. Don’t be afraid to have a few brush piles.
4. Cut out using pesticides; Roundup is not a friend of birds. Thank goodness DDT was outlawed in 1972.
5. Drink shade-grown coffee, it’s much more bird-friendly.
6. Protect the planet from plastics. Don’t use Styrofoam containers or plastic straws.
7. Watch birds and enjoy them. Support birding groups such as the Wimberley Birding Society and Travis Audubon Society.