How to Help Mommy Birds in the Spring

Spring is here and if you’re a bird that means one thing: it’s nesting season. With their migrations complete, birds have begun to settle into their warm weather habitats and prepare for the arrival of this year’s chicks. This means building nests, gathering extra food and keeping their young safe from predators until they’re ready to fly on their own. While it may not compare to working full time while helping your kids through a year of remote learning, it’s a tough job nonetheless, and these hardworking parents can use our help in raising strong, healthy broods. Here are a few ways you can make mommy birds’ lives a little easier this season.

Keep your cat indoors

Your kitty may be itching to get outside and explore its territory, but keeping your feline friend indoors is the best thing you can do for your local bird population this time of year. With domestic cats responsible for 2.4 billion bird deaths alone in the United States each year, they are the single biggest threat to bird populations here in Canada, too. Keeping your cat inside isn’t just good for mother birds and chicks, either. Indoor cats live significantly longer than their outdoor counterparts, making this a win-win-win for cats, humans and birds alike.

Maintain nesting sites

Birds love nesting in shrubs and bushes, so put off your annual hedge trimming for a few months if you can, and save any major tree trimming until fall. Alternately (or additionally) you can put up nesting boxes and bird houses on your property.

Provide nesting material

Nest building is hard work, especially in cities where there is less nesting material to be found than in the wild. You can save your local bird parents some trouble by providing nesting materials like sticks, leaves and even pet fur. One easy way to do this is to hold off cleaning up your lawn and flowerbeds as long as possible, leaving the birds many more leaves and twigs to work with. Or you can simply leave a selection of yard waste in a bin or basket for the birds to peruse.

Keep your distance

Birding is always best done at a distance, and this is particularly true in nesting season. If you discover a bird nest, save your local bird parents some stress and observe it from afar.

Offer refreshments

In addition to their diet of seeds, berries and insects, birds like protein-rich foods like suet and peanuts, too. Like us, they also require a regular supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing, so consider adding a birdbath (which can be as simple as a shallow bowl or saucer) as well. Just be sure to clean your birdbaths and bird feeders regularly to prevent the spread of salmonella and other bird-borne diseases.

Happy Birding!

Urban Nature Store

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