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Zoo News Blog

Good News: Houston is a “Bird City” to Protect Wild Birds

We hope you enjoyed going behind the scenes with our Bird department on today’s Facebook Live! The Houston Zoo is home to over 200 species and 800 individual birds from all around the world. We love our birds and are dedicated to providing them with the highest level of care and are equally dedicated to helping birds thrive in the wild around the globe and right here in Texas!

Houston Zoo staff bird watching.

Tomorrow is World Migratory Bird Day. Here in Texas, spring migration is underway, which means billions of birds are passing through the state, stopping in cities like Houston to rest and refuel before continuing on to their final destinations. Did you know Houston is one of four Texas cities honored with the Bird City designation? This new, community-focused certification program has been created to help people protect birds and their habitats.

As these amazing migratory birds pass through our city there are a number of different actions we can take at home to ensure that they have a safe journey.

One of the biggest challenges migratory birds face is becoming disoriented by artificial lighting at night. Once the sun goes down, lights in buildings and houses can disorient birds, leaving them confused and vulnerable to predation by other animals and collisions with buildings. By turning off the lights in and around our homes at night during migration season (from 7 pm to 7 am) we can help to keep our feathered friends safe. Turning off lights also saves energy, which in turn saves us all money! To receive notifications on when to turn your lights out, check out our partners at Houston Audubon.

You can also help protect migrating birds by “bird proofing” the windows in your home. When birds are in flight, they can sometimes mistake a glass window for a passageway. When this happens, birds may attempt to fly through the window, which leads to a potentially harmful collision. Thankfully, there are a number of different things you can do to help ensure the windows in your home are bird-safe:

The Zoo is saving wild birds by using bird-safe windows at Cypress Circle Cafe.
  • Mark the outside of the window with soap or tempera paint. You can use either a grid pattern or get creative and paint patterns or artwork on your window!
  • Put decals, stickers, sun catchers, masking tape, or other objects (even sticky notes) on the surface of the window, making sure to cover most of the glass with the spaces between stickers too narrow for birds to fly through.
  • Keep shutters or blinds closed.

Visit our website for more ideas on how to make your space safe for wildlife like birds. We can’t wait to welcome you back to the Zoo – in the meantime, your support is more critical than ever. By supporting our Emergency Zoo Fund, you help ensure that we fulfill our mission of connecting communities with animals and inspiring action to save wildlife, even during these challenging times.