Birding blogs are a wonderful way to teach people about the natural world. If you run a nature or local blog, you can help protect native species. Help others identify different birds and encourage people to send in sightings. If planting berries or other native foods for bird friends, see Garden Safety Tips for Pets to know toxic plants to avoid.
Matt Sewell’s Books on Birds
Matt Sewell is a wonderful pop artist, whose modern birding books are miles away from the complicated manuals of old. Each one contains fun images with interesting and often funny descriptions. Bird watching has never been so much fun:
- Our Garden Birds (a bird for every week of the year)
- Our Songbirds (a bird for every week of the year)
- Our Woodland Birds: A Nature Lover’s Guide
- Owls: Our Most Charming Bird
- Spotting and Jotting Guide (our British birds)
- The Big Bird Spot (a globe trotting birdspotting adventure)
- A Charm of Goldfinches (and other collective nouns)
- Penguins and Other Seabirds
More Books To Learn About Birds
- Birding At The Bridge is by a Floridian who moved near Brooklyn Bridge, and was surprised that she found an astonishing array of birds, in the city.
- Birding For The Curious is packed with info on identifying local birds and creating a sound map of their calls. It also has tips on bringing birds back to your backyard.
- Birds Art Life is a writer’s search for creativity, meaning and solace that leads her to watching the local birds. In a world that moves big and fast, Kyo explores how watching birds applies to other aspects of art and life.
Attracting Birds To Your Garden
Robin Mead at The Blue Bottle Tree
- Grow natural food (berries etc) so birds don’t depend on you (hospital, move or die)
- Provide fresh water (and sugar-water to help starving birds)
- Use quality feeders (avoid cheap mesh bags, they tear tiny hands and feet)
- Never feed whole nuts in spring, could choke baby birds (only winter, if used)
- RSPB has good info on feeding birds safely
- Gardening for the Birds is a lovely book on providing natural food
- RSPB has info on how to site birdhouses away from predators
- Birdball House is inspired by the natural form of bird nests
Avoiding Dangers If You Are a Bird
The two biggest dangers (aside from natural predators) are bird strikes and cats. Bird strikes are when they hit the glass of buildings. The best prevention is to close curtains and blinds when possible, and move plants away from where birds may think they are perches. And moving feeders closer to windows (1.5ft or closer) means they can’t fly too fast into the glass. FLAP has more info including bird strike inventions that are not effective.
- Lights Out asks office workers to switch off at night, to avoid bird strike
- CollidEscape is applied on exterior, to reduce environmental reflections
- Bird Screen is a transparent screen with soft cushioning
- Ornilux makes bird friendly UV glass (they see patterns, we don’t)
- Acopian Bird Savers are simple Zen wind curtains
- Bird Crash Preventor is another screen to deter using taut monifilament lines
Cats are the bird’s biggest issue in gardens. So if you have cats, don’t encourage birds to your garden. Catwatch is the only humane deterrent recommended by RSPB (it uses a noise inaudible to us that is harmless to all species, and detects body heat and movement).
Birdsbesafe makes brightly colored covers with reflective trim for safety-release collars (always use to keep cats safe) that alert birds of approaching cats to give them time to fly away. Studies show a success rate of 87%, and they also work to protect lizards. Just insert the breakaway collar inside then both parts should release under pressure. Dogs and owls don’t see colors that well, so these collar covers should not increase risk to cats prone to attack.
Help for Wild Birds
Mystic Moon by Susan Farrell
- Never feed swans or ducks stale bread. Swan Sanctuary has tips on safe foods, though it’s best to let them feed themselves where possible (many are injured by fishing hooks).
- Raptor Rescue (UK) has a phone helpline for injured or orphaned birds.
- The Barn Owl Trust has tips to encourage owls back, including avoiding rat poison and supporting organic farmers.
A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking. Because her trust is not on the branch, but on her own wings. Anon