Five Ways to Help Birds on Mother’s Day—and Every Day!

Pileated woodpecker with fledglings. Photo by Shutterstock.

Here at Bird Watcher’s Digest we’re celebrating mothers, both human and avian! At this time of year, female birds are hard at work laying eggs and taking care of their young. If you’re looking for ways to help mothers with wings, we have five great ideas to share.

  1. Keep cats indoors. Domestic cats—even well-fed, mostly indoor cats—take an incredible toll on songbirds, but low-nesting species and their young are especially vulnerable to cat predation. Do the birds a favor and keep this non-native predator away from places where birds nest. Learn more »
  2. Don’t accidentally abduct nestlings. If you encounter a nestling or fledgling outside the nest, learn how to assess if the bird is in danger—and whether it’s wise to intervene—and if so, what to do.
  3. Provide nesting material. Put out pieces of dry plant material, such as grass stems, twigs, and soft leaves. For birds that build woven nests (orioles, some sparrows, robins, and others), a few grass leaves can come in mighty handy during building time. Offer the pieces in a small basket or on any flat surface. Keep the pieces shorter than two inches to reduce the risk of birds getting tangled in them. Contrary to popular thought, DO NOT offer human hair, pet fur, dryer lint, yarn, or string to birds as nesting material.
  4. Keep the feeder full. Don’t stop feeding your birds, unless you want to miss out on some fabulous behavior watching. Energy-packed foods such as mealworms, peanuts, and suet will lure your backyard birds (and their young) to your feeders. These young birds will learn at an early age where your feeders are.
  5. Save your eggshells. Eggshells help female birds replace calcium lost during egg production and laying. Save your eggshells, dry them out in the oven (10–30 minutes at 250 degrees), crumble them into small pieces, and spread the pieces on an open spot on the ground. Learn more »

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