Top Five Holiday Gifts to Help Birds
Looking for holiday gifts to help birds? With 45 million Americans who enjoy bird watching, there certainly is a demand for bird-inspired presents. The experts at American Bird Conservancy have five suggestions that can help solve that gift-giving dilemma and make a real difference for the thousands of bird species that call the Americas home.
1. Bird-friendly Coffee
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide. As a result, the way coffee is grown has a big impact on habitats—and birds. Unfortunately, most coffee on the market today is produced through destructive farming practices such as clearcutting of tropical forests and using large amounts of pesticides. Anything we can do to discourage such actions ultimately helps birds. That's where bird-friendly coffee helps: Achieving this certification requires that coffee producers do such things as reduce or eliminate pesticide use and increase the amount of shade cover provided at coffee farms. For suggestions on where to shop, check out Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute's bird-friendly coffee guide.
2. ABC BirdTape and other window treatments
Recent studies say that up to a billion birds are killed each year in the U.S. by colliding with glass, nearly half at homes. There are a variety of options that are affordable and easy solutions. Most importantly, tests show that treating windows can significantly reduce bird collisions with glass windows or doors. For DIY options, various products, and more information check out: www.birdsmartglass.org or our handout (available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese). Make sure to put up any retrofits or application before spring migration, a time when bird collisions are at their highest.
There are 84 million owned cats in the U.S., and at least 35 million of them are let outside to roam. Unfortunately, in the course of roaming, those owned cats—as well as at least another 50 million feral cats—are devastating bird populations, killing about 2.4 billion birds annually. The good news is that cat owners who wish to allow their cats outdoors without the worry of their pet either killing wildlife or getting injured from a variety of other predators have an alternative. It is called a "catio," and it comes in a variety of configurations available in various sizes and finishes. Check out these fantastic gifts to help birds and cat owners by visiting Catio Spaces. For additional options and other solutions check out: www.abcbirds.org/catio-solutions-cats/
4. Support bird conservation
Gift a membership to a bird conservation organization: a year-long ABC gift membership only costs $40. Your chosen recipient will receive our publications (Bird Conservation magazine) as well as other updates, and you can feel confident that your gift will be supporting real conservation results for birds. ABC is one of a very select group of organizations that has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator—a mark of extraordinary effectiveness and remarkable fiscal accountability.
5. Once-in-a-lifetime birding trip
Go ahead, give yourself (or a friend) a trip to Central or South America one day. Just make sure you go to a reserve that folds their tourism revenue back into the reserve. That means that your vacation dollars not only give you the birding experience of a lifetime; they also help the local conservation group maintain or even expand the reserve in order to protect more birds for future generations. Our Conservation Birding website is a great starting point for your planning effort.
Are there other ways to buy gifts to help birds?
Yes! Try shopping on Amazon's charitable website AmazonSmile. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate .5% of all eligible purchases to the nonprofit organization of your choice. To get started, login to smile.amazon.com and make sure to choose American Bird Conservancy as your designated charity recipient. Once signed in, you can search for thousands of holiday gifts to help birds.
One last thing: Fundraisers can also be great gifts to help birds
Not interested in gifts? Ask friends and family to skip traditional presents and support bird conservation instead by hosting your own Facebook fundraiser. Visit ABC's fundraising page to find out more and get started. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery, so make sure to check out existing ABC fundraising campaigns for inspiring ideas to get others engaged.
Birds starring in this post, top to bottom: Painted Bunting, Matthew Orselli/Shutterstock; Summer Tanager, Ondrej Prosi/Shutterstock; Anna's Hummingbird, Keneva Photography/Shutterstock; Northern Cardinal, Steven R. Smith/Shutterstock; Great Green Macaws, Evgeniapp/Shutterstock.