What You Can Do for Birds

Bird Studies Canada’s Top 6 Things You Can Do For Birds

Everybody can make small changes in their daily lives to help out birds and other biodiversity. Here are six easy things that you can do for birds – right now!


1. Get to Know Your Birds

Birds are fascinating and inspiring. They enhance our communities and our lives.

Birds can be found everywhere… from shorelines, forests, mountains, and marshes to our most urban landscapes.

Learning to identify birds is one of the best ways to connect with the natural world, and is the first step toward taking conservation action.

Where do I start?

2. Support Bird Conservation

Join or support a bird conservation organization

  • Become a member, donor, or volunteer for Bird Studies Canada, Canada’s leading national charity for bird science and conservation

Volunteer for programs that are making a real difference for birds

  • Become a Citizen Scientist and help monitor and protect birds through one of Bird Studies Canada’s many volunteer programs!
  • Become a Bird Rescue Volunteer for FLAP Canada

3. Be a Bird-Friendly Consumer

Reducing overall consumption, and making ‘greener’ choices generally, reduces your environmental footprint and benefits all wildlife over time

Think twice about the foods you buy

  • Avoid food waste
  • Buy food that is grown as locally as possible
  • Avoid pesticides and give preference to organic food
  • Look for certifications on coffee and other food products – there are many options!

Be a careful consumer of wood and paper

  • Wherever possible, using less will lower the impacts of your consumption
  • When buying paper products, choose recycled and unbleached options to help reduce your environmental footprint
  • Look for certifications that recognize sustainable practices

4. Make Your Yard Bird-Friendly

Plant native vegetation that provides cover and food for birds

  • Planting sunflowers and thistles and letting them go to seed provides food for birds in the summer
  • Tubular, nectar-producing flowers and flowering trees and shrubs attract hummingbirds
  • Fruiting trees such as mountain ash and serviceberry attract fruit-eating birds such as bluebirds, robins, and waxwings
  • Many sparrow species enjoy native prairie grasses

Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides on your property

Bird feeders should be cleaned with hot soapy water and a vinegar solution about once every two weeks. Rinse and dry thoroughly before refilling, to protect bird health


5. Keep Cats Indoors

According to an Environment Canada study published in 2013, cats kill more than 100 million birds each year in Canada, making them the most significant human-related bird mortality factor in the country

Studies have shown that bells on collars are not effective in preventing cats from killing birds or other wildlife

Keeping cats inside is best for native wildlife, and for the health of your pets


6. Prevent Bird-Window Collisions

Collisions with residential and commercial buildings kill an estimated 16-42 million birds each year in Canada – mostly at houses

Visit the FLAP website to learn how you can help birds avoid window collisions

Place bird feeders a safe distance from windows:

  • within 3 feet of a window (so a bird leaving the feeder can’t gain enough momentum to do harm if it strikes the window), or
  • more than 30 feet away from a window (so birds are less likely to perceive windows as a pathway to other parts of your yard).