What Can You Do to Help Canada’s Migratory Birds?

Every spring birds travel north to their breeding areas

In celebration of Earth Day 2020 the ROM is sharing what you can do to help birds as they migrate to their breeding areas in Ontario and throughout Canada over the next six weeks. Most of the bird species that breed in Canada are migrants, and during April and May billions of birds migrate from wintering areas in the south to their breeding areas in Canada.

Now more than ever these birds face huge obstacles along the way. It is estimated that more than 2 billion migratory birds are killed across North America as a direct result of human actions.

How can you help our bird migrants while we shelter at home?

  • Keep your cat inside with you! Domestic cats are one of the biggest threats to birds. It’s estimated that cats in Canada are responsible for between 100-350 million bird deaths per year.
  • Turn your lights off at night if you are not using them. Reducing light pollution will help to save birds, and the lowered electrical bill will save you money. Window collisions present a significant risk to bird populations.
  • Consider switching to a Bird Friendly coffee – look for a coffee certified as ‘bird friendly ’or ‘shade grown’. These coffees are grown on farms that work to create a natural forest-like habitat that is better for birds – including many of our local migratory birds who winter in coffee-growing regions.
  • Reduce your consumption of single use plastics. Birds looking for a bite to eat can be confused by single use plastics and may swallow them or become stuck in items like beer rings or even drink containers and lids.
  • Consider native plants for your garden and on your balcony. Local plants benefit not just birds, but also endangered bees and butterflies. When autumn rolls around consider leaving local plants to seed rather than cutting them back – birds will appreciate the extra food!

Now is a time to pause and consider the beauty of the natural world around us, whether we are enjoying a quiet moment in our backyard, from a balcony, or the view from a window.