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Five Ways to Save Birds this Earth Day

Discover five ways you can help save birds as we countdown to Earth Day this Saturday, April 22!

1. Plant Native Plants for Birds

You can help birds by doing some small things in your own outdoor space! If you have a bigger space you can always start your own wildlife-friendly garden. If you have a smaller space, like a patio or balcony, you can have a few small potted plants to start. Local plants support birds and other wildlife by providing an environment for local wildlife to thrive while helping protect the Earth.

The Houston Zoo does a variety of things to help create wildlife-friendly spaces to support local birdlife. We have a number of Texas native plant gardens around the Zoo that our horticulture team does an amazing job creating and maintaining.

2. Buy Bird-Friendly Coffee

Here at the Zoo, the coffee we serve is Bird-Friendly certified, which means the coffee farmer grows shade-grown coffee to preserve the habitats of birds and other animals in the wild. When you buy a cup of coffee at the Zoo’s Texas Wetlands kiosk, you’re helping save birds, like the Andean cock-of-the-rock, in the wild. Look for this beautiful bird in our Savanna Aviary inside of South America’s Pantanal. Choose to buy Bird Friendly coffee the next time you’re at the store!

3. Apply Window Clings to Help Prevent Bird Collisions

You can help save migratory birds and birds local to the area by applying special treatments to windows that stop birds from flying into them. Window reflections can be deceptive to birds, making it difficult for them to distinguish between windows and the open sky. Here at the Zoo, you can see bird-safe glass on the Cypress Circle Café windows in the Kathrine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands. We also retrofitted other Zoo buildings’ windows onsite. By applying decals, stickers, sun catchers, masking tape, or other objects (even sticky notes) on the surface of the window — especially during spring and fall migration — it helps decrease reflections and keep birds safe.

4. Turn the Lights Out for Birds

Each year, nearly two million birds make their way through Texas from March 1 to June 15, with the peak spring migration happening now until May 12. You can help save migratory birds by dimming non-essential lighting and closing blinds in your homes and businesses between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Learn more about the Lights Out for Wildlife campaign.

5. Reduce Single-Use Plastics for Birds

You can help keep our oceans clean by reducing your single-use plastics (bags, bottles, straws, disposable utensils) to help save the cousins of our Humboldt penguins. Birds can mistake plastics for food and it can be harmful to them. The Zoo saves penguins and other marine wildlife by providing training and support for conservation partners from UC Davis Latin America Program and the Global Penguin Society who are monitoring marine wildlife health and conducting research and threat reduction campaigns to protect marine wildlife from plastic ingestion and entanglement.

Bonus: Join us at the Zoo for Earth Day on Saturday, April 22 and participate in activities with Zoo volunteers and Zoo Crew teens. This is included with general admission and is free for members.

Photo by Volunteer Matthew G.