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Top 5 ways you can help migrating birds

prothonotary warbler; Credit: USFWS

prothonotary warbler; Credit: USFWS

As days become longer and the warm weather arrives, thousands of birds migrate back to North America to nest. But first, they must survive the gauntlet of life-threatening obstacles in their way.

While human factors are the leading cause of population loss, there are ways for us to ease their journey and increase their odds of survival. Here’s how you can help migrating birds on their journey this spring:

Keep cats indoors


Cats, both feral and domestic, kill a devastating 3.7 billion birds in the United States alone each year. One of the easiest ways to keep songbirds safe is to keep cats indoors or explore safer outdoor options.

Turn off your lights

Garden light in our backyard

Credit: Kei51; CC BY 2.0

The majority of songbirds migrate overnight, relying on the moon and stars to help guide them along their journey. Overnight lights can confuse migratory birds and cause them to collide with windows. Save our feathered friends by turning out the lights.

Minimize window collisions


Credit: Ivan Lian; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Window collisions are one of the leading causes of songbird death in North America. There are a number of simple ways we can help prevent these collisions right at home.

Birds tend to fly towards house plants in search of a resting place. Moving houseplants away from your windows will help limit collisions.

Close your curtains or blinds, or try a simple window treatment to eliminate the illusion of a ‘fly through zone.’ A fly through zone is the illusion that two windows in your home make when they meet at a corner or are in line with one another at the front and back of your home. To a bird, it appears that there is a passage through your home to the other side.

Move your bird feeder within a meter of your windows.


Credit: udo.d; CC BY-NC 2.0

The closer your feeder is to a window, the less momentum a bird can build when flying, reducing the likelihood that it will hit your window before or after feeding.

Take up bird-friendly gardening

You can help our bird friends by providing them with a safe place to rest. Plan for your spring gardening projects by researching bird friendly native plant species to grow in your garden.

Virginia creeper

The Virginia creeper is a vine that is easy to grow and maintain. It also produces a small berry that is an important food for birds. Credit: danna curious tangles; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Birds risk it all to migrate hundreds or thousands of kilometres each spring and fall. Let’s try our best to help ease this journey and save our bird populations.




Jaklynn Nimec, Executive Assistant, Ontario Nature




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  1. Is it just me or is this only five ways? where’s number 6?

    • Noah Cole

      That was not an inaccurate observation Geoff. Thank you for counting this, as well as migrating bird figures.

      We hope this post inspires you, as well as others, to help further reduce life-threatening obstacles for birds.

      ON Noah

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