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Greenscaping Techniques Are For The Birds, Too!

2009 November 5

As the migratory birds of North America start their yearly trek to warmer areas, birdwatchers may feast their eyes on new visitors passing through backyards and parks. While this yearly event may be often ignored by the average citizen, our daily actions have a definite impact on bird populations no matter where you live. Certain bird species are threatened by human activities, reduced habitats, pollution, and climate change, among other factors. Simple steps we take at home and in our community can protect the environment and go a long way to protect our avian visitors during their migration.

At home, my mother and I have always debated which is better for the birds: providing bird feeders with abundant birdseeds year-round or planting native plants in the backyard. I thought that by providing birdfeeders along migratory routes you were making birds stay longer in northern areas instead of migrating on time. Research on the subject indicated that seasonal changes rather than abundance of seeds were the determining factor for bird migration. There isn’t one easy answer to the birdfeeder debate. Definitely, if you decide to set up birdfeeders in your backyard, maintenance and placement of the feeder play a role in the protection of the birds. Furthermore, you should clean the feeders regularly to prevent mold from developing and harming the birds. Personally, I prefer greenscaping techniques like integrated pest management and planting native shrubs and trees that naturally invite birds and other wildlife to your backyard.

There is no doubt that pollution prevention and bird conservation initiatives [http://www.epa.gov/owow/birds/bird.html] overall will both have a positive impact on our feathered friends and our Planet Earth. So, how about pledging to take five simple steps in environmental protection? You can start today! [http://www.epa.gov/pick5/]

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    November 5, 2009

    I try to compare badluck of the birds on the world now and human vehicles in the sky next time better (thousands year later). Perhaps virus of the vehicles machine are danger. Or perhaps climate changes acceleration will be rise.

    I hope your techniques will be similar and also develop for next time better.

  2. Jorge Gerônimo Hipólito permalink
    November 7, 2009

    I would like to tell Lina Younes to deploy feeders in the backyard of our houses will influence the creation of urban fauna. Here in Brazil, more precisely, in the city of Três Fronteiras – Sao Paulo, I saw scarlet macaws feeding on seeds of cashew in the backyard of a house. In principle, people find beautiful, I honestly think it’s sad because it means that the birds are losing their habitats. I believe that, in parallel, we would encourage the regeneration of forest reserves and thus motivate our birds to return to their homes. Finally, I would say, in the event that we humans can not make progress in this direction in the future humans and birds will all be environmental refugees

  3. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    November 9, 2009

    Preserving native habitat works best for both people and birds and other wildlife. Out of control development needs to be contained worldwide. Here in Southern California local political forces heavily influenced by wealthy, powerful real estate developers allowed tracts of million dollar homes to be built in wildland areas and every year when the Santa Ana winds blow, we have multimillion dollar loss brush fires. Also, the same developers that put expensive homes in wildland areas than said to water boards that drinking water had to be diverted from where it is naturally located to the new subdivisions. And that meant more loss of habitat, a lower quality of water for lower income people, and minorities, but higher quality of water for people in new expensive subdivisions located in high fire risk areas. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  4. Lina-EPA permalink*
    November 9, 2009

    So, if one person alone cannot stop development, I would like to put the question out there–in those newly developed areas–we should at least plant native plants, trees, shrubs instead of putting out feeders, right?

  5. Jorge Gerônimo hipólito permalink
    November 9, 2009

    Perfect! I think this would be better, that is, only native trees in backyards and preferably the fruit. Feeders would change the habits of birds and they would become dependent on humans. We can not forget the reconstruction of the forest reserves there in the farms.

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