By Science Outreach Intern Katrina McCollough
Issue Spotlight - No Place to Rest
There are SO many houses in the suburbs, taking a flight you can get a bird’s eye view and see the miles and miles of houses, with small squares of green every so often. These parks are often few and far between, which isn’t good news for birds like Perry, who need places to stop and rest. Birds need trees, grass, shrubs, they need areas of plant diversity with supplies of food and water nearby. This can be severely lacking in some suburbs, which look like sprawling oceans of gray and this is where you come in! (Photo by Mark Turner).
What We Can Do
Perry starts his journey from a homemade birdhouse, meaning anyone with a backyard can be part of a bird’s migration every year. Birds need a LOT of energy to migrate. Take a glance back at the comic above, if you notice the backyard Perry’s leaving from it’s a true bird oasis. There are trees, plenty of flowers, and all the amenities a bird could want. By having birdhouses, birdfeeders (fruit, seed, and nectar), or birdbaths in the backyard you too can help start their journey or be an important stop along the way. If you have a bit of a green thumb and love to garden, you can also help by planting native plants that attract and feed birds.
Below are some tips about ways you can help birds like Perry! (photo by Bryan Hanson)
Feeding Birds - Visit the Audubon website to get tips on feeding backyard birds.
Nest Support - Watch SFBBO's Birdy Hours series One and Two by Lee Pauser on supporting birds with nest boxes, check out Audubon's website for more information on this topic, and see an article by Rachel Maidl in Bird and Bloom to learn about safe materials you can provide for birds to use for nests.
Support Conservation - You can support work to study and conserve birds and their habitats through science and outreach by becoming a volunteer and making a donation to SFBBO.
The Mission of Perry's Journey - A Message from the Illustrator
It’s important we understand that just because birds can fly over it all, doesn’t mean they aren’t affected by what’s going on down here on the ground. The population of North American birds has dropped by nearly 30% since the 1970s, that is a total of almost 3 billion birds. Gone.
Birds are incredibly important to the balance of our ecosystems: they are essential as pollinators and for seed dispersal, particularly for native plants, and they feed on and help control a variety of critters we consider pests like insects and rodents. Bird studies teach us about climate and the environment, and the birds themselves are key indicators of environmental change. And, most simply, birds are beautiful, and they provide us with music and joy.
The protagonist of this story, Perry, is doing his part as a bird, migrating to his northern breeding location to hopefully pass on his little brown bird genes. It’s all he can do. Perry’s Journey illustrates the important journey of birds like him across the globe, who are doing their parts to help.
Migrating birds are disproportionately affected because they need not just one habitat, but multiple habitats that can serve as stopping points along their journeys. We call these migration corridors and it’s important that they are protected: for the birds’ sakes as well as our own. Birds like Perry can’t control what happens on the ground, or in the water and air, but we can. During Perry’s journey over the couse of ten posts, we will go into some of the main issues facing not just migrating birds, but all birds, and what you can do to help. To support SFBBO's work to conserve birds and their habitats through science and outreach, please make a donation to our Spring Appeal!
Wingbeat is a blog where you can find the most recent stories about our science and outreach work. We'll also share guest posts from volunteers, donors, partners, and others in the avian science and conservation world. To be a guest writer, please fill out our Volunteer Application below.