Guest Author - Malika Harricharan
One of the signs spring is on the way is the sound of birds chirping. Sometimes this can happen overnight with birds waking you up with their chirping. Bird migration dates back 3000 years.
When most people think of migration, they think of birds that spend most of their time in one place and have a 'winter home' in another geographic area. In North America, we think of birds making their home here and only traveling south for the winter. However, many birds spend 50 percent or more of their life in the company of our neighbors to the south.
These birds have moved north from Central and South America, and are anxious to begin breeding. The males arrive first to claim their territory, followed by the females, who then choose the bests males.
Some interesting facts about birds:
*Male house wrens build several nests and allow the females to pick the one they like best.
*Seabirds have very long migrations. These trips can be 20,000 miles.
*In Australia and New Guinea where the bowerbirds are found, males decorate nest with colorful feathers, flowers, even manmade objects like ribbons, to attract females
*During migration some birds can fly as high as 30,000 feet.
In the last 10- 15 years there has been a decline in these migratory birds. They are threatened by deforestation. This leaves them without any place to build a nest and breed.
Another threat to birds - themselves. I know that many people complain of birds flying into their windows. This actually tends to happen more in the springtime. This is when birds are scoping out their territories and mates as well as laying eggs and raising young. At this time, they are extremely protective of not only their young, but also their territory. Inevitably, they see their own reflection in the window and think it is a competitor. This is especially common with Robins, Sparrows and Cardinals.
One solution is to put an awning or plant trees to shade windows so birds will not crash into them. Also, installing a bird feeder will tend to slow them down. So, at least if they do bump into your window the speed will not be that fast and the bird may not be hurt quite so badly.
What can we do to help migratory birds?
*Have a source of water for birds.
*Don't just put out seed, put out fruit and nectar feeders as well.
*Be aware that chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides can be deadly to birds.
*Get involved in migratory bird conservation in the United States or Central America.