Any chemical that kills insects could potentially harm the birds that eat insects. The more natural and organic you can manage your property, the healthier it will be for you, for birds and other wildlife. The Audubon At Home website has some helpful “Action Plan” checklists and fact sheets on reducing pesticide use, as well as on reducing mowed lawns, conserving and protecting water, removing exotic plant pests, and planting native species.
Cats and Birds:
Free-roaming cats are a problem around the world for bird populations, and have been shown to decimate ground-nesting and backyard birds in many areas. Whether the cats are free-roaming pets or feral cats, you may have to obtain a live-trap to humanely capture them and bring them to a local shelter. Audubon believes the best way to protect birds from cats is to keep cats indoors.
Many counties or municipalities have ordinances that protect homeowners from pets that damage neighbor’s yards. Check to see all the ordinances that currently exist relating to pets. Problem cats may, in fact, not be someone’s pets, but instead might be true feral cats. A feral female cat that is not neutered can have many young that remain wild — so you can get a large population of wild, bird-eating cats in a very short time.
If you do not have an ordinance now to keep cats indoors or with collars, you should talk to your local elected officials about the process to propose one for a local vote. Also check with your local wild bird store to see what they know about this issue.
Audubon is a partner in a national campaign called Cats Indoors! led by the American Bird Conservancy. Their website that will provide you with facts, materials, and suggestions for leading a public awareness campaign in your community.
Making Windows Safer:
During certain times of the year, the angle of the sun can make windows turn into mirrors, reflecting the sky and vegetation making the window look like an open place to fly. Inside, hanging blinds or curtains that can be partly closed will let in light while breaking up the reflection.
Outside, hanging shiny objects in front of the window, covering the window with netting, or stringing store-bought feathers across windows may have some effect. There are decals being sold now at bird stores and online that are various wildlife images with a special coating that reflects ultraviolet light, which looks blue to birds but is clear to humans.
Anything attached to the outside needs to be spaced across the entire window to be effective. Sometimes birds hit windows as they flee from feeders when frightened. Moving feeders farther away from the window can often help in this situation. Attaching hawk-shaped decals to the inside of a window often has little effect.