Spring has sprung, and for bird-lovers all over California, now is the perfect time to venture outside and observe the thousands of birds that are migrating across our Golden State.
For a relaxing day of birding, consider venturing to a local Conservancy-protected preserve. A prime location to watch for songbirds and shorebirds is the Central Valley’s Cosumnes River Preserve. May and June are ideal months for spotting migrating songbirds as they make their way back from their wintering grounds in Central and South America.
Celebrate in Your Own Backyard
Visiting one of the Conservancy’s preserves to bird-watch is certainly an unforgettable experience, but it isn’t the only way to observe the birds we are working to protect. Everyone can practice smart avian conservation; here are five actions you can take to help you enjoy and protect the birds in your own backyard:
If You Build It, They Will Come. More than two dozen different bird species will nest in bird houses, including house wrens, western bluebirds, tree swallows and barn owls. If you’re feeling crafty, why not build them a home? Or, for those of us who are not as handy, taking a trip to the pet or hardware store might be the best way to procure your birds’ perfect abode.
Hang It Up. Placing a simple hummingbird feeder in your backyard is a simple and effective way to attract them. In the summertime, feeders and flower gardens often entice black-chinned and Anna’s hummingbirds. In the spring and fall, you might be lucky enough to catch the attention of bright orange rufous hummingbirds, which pass through California on their 3,500-mile migration between Mexico and their breeding grounds, which extend as far north as Alaska .
Don’t Leave Them High and Dry. Consider installing a birdbath in your yard. Hanging a slowly dripping garden hose above a wash tub or plastic container will attract a variety of birds to your backyard during hot summers. The hose will serve as both a drinking and a bathing source for them — a win-win!
Plant It. Plants that produce native fruits and berries provide important food resources for a variety of birds, especially in the fall and spring. Try planting a fruit tree or a bush in your yard if you have the space.
(Don’t) Crash into Me. Glass and birds just don’t mix. The last thing anyone wants to see is a head-on collision between a bird and a back door! To prevent this, try mounting cutout silhouettes of birds in large windows of your home.