Habitat improvements and maintenance
A natural, native landscape is vital to the survival of our native birds. There are many ways you can help, here are some resources that can guide you....
Plant Native Plants
& Help Audubon plant 1 million new native plants
Native plants provide food, shelter and nesting sites for native birds. Most native plants attract a high variety of native insects, which are crucial for songbirds. Many native plants provide fruit, seeds and nuts at certain times of the year. Native trees and shrubs provide nesting sites, roosting sites, and cover from predators. To find out which plants are native to your area, click on the Find Native Plants link below to Audubon's Plants for Birds plant finder. This link will give you a list of plants native to your area, and each plant listed has a list of benefits, species attracted to the plan, and local & web resources where you can buy your plants. Once you purchase your plant click on Next Step to add your plants to the list.
Find Native Plants *
*Note - the link above is set to 06410, Cheshire, CT, New Haven County. If you live in another county you will need to update to your zip code.
Food and Water for birds
Backyard bird feeders are one of the easiest ways to help songbirds. Birds of all colors are attracted to bird feeders, most commonly they are refered to as backyard birds, but occasionally you may find a warbler or thrush looking for an easy snack. To be a good bird feeder host the most important thing you can do is to make sure your feeder is clean and the food is fresh. Remember to clean your feeders regularly, at least once a month, and more often during hot and humid weather or after a soaking rain. Damp food spoils easliy and may sicken the birds. Seed and suet can be offered to birds all year. Hummingbird and oriole feeders are common additions in spring until fall. Water is vital to birds all year, for hydration and to keep their feathers pristine. A running water feature will attract the most variety of birds, but simple bird baths are great too, even a heated one in sub freezing temperatures will get bird action. As with bird feeders you must make sure the water source is clean. Make sure to regularly clean those bird baths, fountains and waterfalls. Feel free to contact us for feeder and water advice and resources.
Avoid Window Strikes
Bird deaths due to window strikes is estimated to be at about a billion deaths each year in the United States. Birds don't see windows the same way we do. They see a reflection as a continuation of the outside, or they see an opening as if they would be able to pass through. The best solution would be to have an external mesh screech installed to each window in your building. Another solution is a product called Collidescape, which is a film applied to the window. Other solutions are window decals or writing on the window with an ultra-violet marker (you can't see it but the birds can). The American Bird Conservancy has other effective solutions...
Keep Cats Indoors
Bird deaths due to invasive cats (outdoor domestic house cats) are right in line with window strikes each year. The domestic cat is a species, developed by humans, not native anywere on earth, top on the list of the most invasive species on earth. They are great hunters of birds and other native wildlife, often killing just for fun. Please keep your cat indoors and try to encourage other to do the same. It's safer for our native wildlife, as well as cats.
Help out with bird surveys
Estimating our bird population couldn't be done without the help of volunteers. It could be as little as a couple hours a year to recording birds you see every day!! There is a survey for everyone. QVAS partcipates every year in the Christmas Bird Count, and The Big Sit, see our CBC and Big Sit page. We also participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, and Project Feeder Watch, see our links & partners page. Those are all national surveys that help track the population of our birds. There are also species specific surveys like the USFW eagle survey held each January. The Connecticut DEEP is conducting a statewide 3 year bird atlas that starts April 2018, see our events page. A very recent and likely one of the most resourceful tools in tracking birds is Ebird, simple to enter data and the time spent on it is up to you. Ebird is also on our links & partners page.