I think of wild birds as Nature’s Ambassadors. Along with their musical songs and aerial grace, they also benefit the world behind the scenes. From helping to keep insect and rodent populations in check to helping plants, shrubs, and trees by distributing the seeds, birds benefit the world. Their populations are decreasing quickly now, and each of us can do something to help. Please note some resources I’ve listed under “Conservation – Organizations.” The National Audubon Society and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offer extensive support.

Tips to help: Even birds that are seed-eaters feed their young insects for high protein — so avoiding pesticide use around the home and garden will help the birds’ health. Leave seed heads standing in your garden through the winter, especially the seed heads of native plants. In winter, feed resident seedeaters with seeds (we use black oil sunflower) & suet. Clean feeders & birdbaths regularly for disease prevention. Plant perennials that are native to your area. Keep hummingbird feeders clean & clear from mold, ants & bees. If you have birdhouses, read about the proper sizes & care of them. Lean about ways to discourage Cowbirds, English Sparrows, and Starlings, as they are hard on songbird populations. It’s a win-win situation — birds are fun to watch, eat insect pests in gardens, and fill the air with birdsong.