2018 was the Year of the Bird, and hundreds of thousands of people—led by the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Bird Life International,the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and a host of other bird and conservation organizations—made the pledge to do something small each month to benefit birds. Between all of us, that makes a big difference. It is now December, and the final month of the Year of Bird Challenge, so this is the time to Share Your Love of Birds.
Hopefully, this challenge has led to you experience birds in new and different ways. Perhaps you’ve taken some actions that you want to make a permanent part of your life. (For me, that’s the delicious bird habitat-supporting shade-grown coffee I discovered! I’m never letting go of that!) If you’ve found new and exciting ways to engage with birds, share them with your friends and family this month! (I’m going to give some of that coffee to a few of my coffee-loving friends as a holiday gift, and perhaps they’ll be converted as well—all to the benefit of the birds!)
Here are some ideas:
- If you liked the November action of photographing birds, use those photography tips to post photos of local birds on social media so others can appreciate how beautiful and amazing they are.
- If you liked doing surveys for birds,participate in the Christmas Bird Count in your area! To find the date of the CBC near you and to join it, follow this link: https://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count
- If you liked planting native bird-friendly plants in your yard, gift native plants to your loved ones! Even non-birders love plants and watching and listening to birds in their yard.
- Consider bird-friendly gifts: bird feeders or bird seed—you can make or buy your own suet balls for friends and family who don’t have the interest in keeping up a bird feeder for the whole year but who would enjoy watching some birds come by in the winter.
- Trash-reducing gifts like reusable water bottles(insulated ones are great winter gifts—who doesn’t want hot coffee on the go?),shade-grown coffee, reusable shopping bags, or any other environmentally-friendly items that replace single-use plastic or disposable items, or products that degrade natural habitat, are great bird-friendly gifts,too! (My family and friends have loved beeswax wraps—these are cuts of fabric coated with (naturally bacteria-resistant) beeswax that replace plastic cling-wrap and can be used just like plastic wrap to make an air-tight cover over any bowl or wrap around a sandwich, and I’ve found that they keep French bread soft and good for over a week!)
- If you’re getting together with friends and/or family for the holidays, encourage everyone to go out for a walk and pay attention to the birds you see when you’re out there. You never now when you can start a lifelong love of birding.
Thank you for following the Year of the Bird with us, and thank you for making a difference for the birds! If you missed any of the challenges, you can do most of them anytime. I for one plan to do it all again in 2019!
Year of the Bird Actions so far (more information at https://www.audubon.org/yearofthebird):
January – Take the Year of the Bird Pledge
February – Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, join and use eBird
March – Grow Native Plants
April – Speak Up for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
May – Citizen Science: Global Big Day and Climate Watch
June – Reduce Your Plastic Use
July – Take a Child Into Nature
August – Discover Your National Parks
September – Protect Migrating Birds from Window Collisions and Lights
October – Participate in Cornell’s Big Day
November – Capture Birds on Camera
Written by Amy Zimmermann