If you’re standing at the kitchen window sipping your morning java and suddenly see your neighbor scooting up a tree with binoculars in tow, relax. It’s January 5th and enthusiasts nationwide will be positioning themselves for close encounters of the bird kind in observance of National Bird Day.
With all due respect to Mr. Hitchcock, the birds are not a threat. In fact, they need our help. This day was established to appreciate the beauty of our feathered friends and to increase awareness and conservation efforts to protect them.
Man, not Sylvester the cat, is the biggest threat to the bird population, from deforestation of their natural habitats to capturing and selling them in pet stores. No preschooler will forget the words of a certain politician who touted himself as a threat to Big Bird.
Birds sold in pet shops are destined for a life of loneliness and a future devoid of flocking together, soaring across skies and flitting between trees. Sadly, even domesticated birds don’t always hold the interest of their owners. Too often, they end up caged and condemned to solitary confinement.
Awareness begins at home. If you own a pet bird, use this day to learn how you can make its life a happier one. Construct an escape-free aviary room where it can stretch its wings and fly or commit to spending more time with your bird by moving its cage from room to room with you.
Welcome birds into your yard by placing birdhouses or feeders within view of windows to note which species come to dine. Take a hike, observe birds that make your local park their home. Photography enthusiasts can revel in capturing cardinals, blue jays and chickadees in their natural activities.
On National Bird Day each of us, from avian experts to the smallest admirers of Big Bird, should commit to making a positive difference in the lives of birds.