Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd, and began in 1970 after the senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, announced the idea of a nationwide day to teach awareness of the environment. Now Earth Day and Earth Week are observed in over 175 countries!
As a bird lover, there are many ways to celebrate and observe Earth Day! Just being aware of the environment in our own backyards is a great start. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Be aware of any chemicals you might be using for pest control, weed control or as fertilizers. Chemicals get into our water supplies, kill off the food sources that our wild birds depend on and can create an unhealthy environment in your yard. Inviting birds into your yard is a great, natural means of pest control as birds (and bats!) consume large quantities of potentially harmful insects. And birds that are seed-eaters such as goldfinches do a great job of eating weed seeds, keeping those plants at bay. And consider compost and organic fertilizers instead of chemical fertilizers for your flowers and vegetables. Your family and the wildlife in your yard will be healthier for it!
Another way to help the birds and also our environment is to purchase bird feeders and birdhouses in bio-degradable wood or those made with Eco-friendly recycled materials. Recycled plastic bird feeders and birdhouses are great because they’re non-porous and very easy to keep clean and hygienic. Made from discarded milk jugs and other plastics, they are highly durable and keep their good looks indefinitely without warping, cracking or discoloring. Wood bird feeders and birdhouses won’t last as long, and they will be harder to keep clean, but they are a natural, bio-degradable material and inexpensively replaced when necessary. Both are much better choices than the cheap, plastic bird feeders and houses you find in discount stores!
And there are more things you can do as well! You can improve your backyard habitat with water, native plantings that provide berries or fruits, and nesting spots for birds. Or leave an area completely natural where wildflowers and grasses can go to seed and provide natural food. Also consider a brush pile in the corner of your yard where birds and small animals can take shelter and scratch for food under cover. And whenever possible, try to keep dead trees standing. The insects that live there are an important food source for woodpeckers and other birds, and old woodpecker holes are used by many birds as nesting cavities.
Happy Earth Day!