As far as holidays go, Easter rules supreme during spring. But there’s another annual event that bird lovers can help celebrate — Earth Day, which takes place on April 22 each year. Earth Day is celebrated in more than 192 countries, and events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
While most bird enthusiasts are inclined to recycle (e.g. newspaper for cage liner, cardboard boxes and shredded paper for bird toys), there is more we can do to help the environment. In honor of Earth Day, here are seven ways bird lovers can make a difference in our own neighborhoods and abroad.
1. Grow a bird-friendly backyard.
With urban crawl comes shrinking food sources for wild birds. Help a birdie out by turning your yard into a wild bird foraging ground. Research online or check with your local wild bird supply store to match the right plants and shrubs with the birds in your area. An added benefit? Insect control; birds feeding in your backyard will also dine on insects they come across!
Trees help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which helps fight pollution. They also help prevent soil erosion, and better yet, they provide roosting spots and nesting sites for wild birds. Name your tree in honor of your feathered friend.
3. Update your lighting to energy-efficient bulbs.
Better yet, update the lighting around your bird’s cage to full-spectrum lighting. Full-spectrum light helps your bird’s body to properly utilize calcium, which outdoor birds get via natural sunlight. According to some sources, full-spectrum bulbs last 10,000 hours longer that conventional light bulbs; fewer light bulbs, healthier lighting for your bird!
Unfortunately, natural sunlight filtered through glass is too diluted to reap its health benefits, so placing your bird’s cage near a window won’t do the trick. So let your pet bird enjoy time outdoors (take the appropriate safety measures such as having him in a carrier, travel cage or on a harness).
4. Leave your car at home.
Walk or bike to the store for your bird’s produce; you’ll fit in your daily exercise and reduce your carbon footprint.
5. BYOB, as in Bring Your Own Bag when shopping.
Do you really need that store-supplied plastic bag to bring home a single item, like a box of dry spaghetti? As your purchase makes its way down the checkout conveyor belt, tell the cashier you’ve got your own bag or you don’t need a bag at all.
You can’t get any more local than that, combine that with the fact that bird’s love fresh produce, and you’ve got a win-win situation.
7. Book an eco-tour.
If you have a tax refund coming your way, consider using your windfall to book an eco-tour. You might even find one in or around your bird’s native habitat. Even if far-off travel is not in your plans, there are many worthy parrot conservation projects to donate to.
After a day of planting and walking instead of driving, it’s time to celebrate! Make some eco-friendly snacks to share with your bird, like a trail mix of almonds, dried cranberry, sunflower, and coconut shavings. Or, as you wait for your garden to grow, hit the local farmer’s market for some locally grown produce and make a veggie tray with your bird.