If you are standing at the window sipping your morning java and suddenly see your neighbor scooting up a tree with binoculars in tow, relax. Today is National Bird Day, observed annually on January 5. Birders near and far will be positioning themselves for close encounters of the bird kind.
Sylvester the Cat is not the biggest threat to the bird population, we are. We deforest their natural habitats. We capture then sell them to pet stores. Very few kids 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 lives of loneliness. Futures devoid of soaring across skies, flitting between trees and flocking together. Sadly, most domesticated birds don’t hold their owners’ interest and too often, they end up caged and condemned to solitary confinement.
With all due respect to Mr. Hitchcock, 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.
Awareness begins at home. If you own a pet bird, use this day to 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 to rooms you most frequent.
Welcome birds by placing birdhouses or feeders within view of windows to note which species come to dine. When outside, look around to observe the birds that make public lands their home. Photography enthusiasts can revel in capturing cardinals, blue jays and chickadees enjoying the environment.
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.