Every second of every day, birds are migrating somewhere in the world. Whether it is a short distance or an epic journey, every place where birds spend time is critical for the survival of their species. This includes their summer breeding grounds, their wintering areas and all the stopovers in between.  Without these stopover places, the birds have insufficient reserves to continue and have difficulties completing their journeys.

Here are some simple and effective ways we can help migratory birds – from what we plant in our gardens to what coffee we pour into our morning cup:

1) Birds require pristine habitat at both their breeding and their wintering grounds, and they need a safe place to land and rest that has food and water. Protecting small spaces, including your back yard, is an important way to create habitats for migratory birds.

2) Landscape with nature in mind, using native wildflowers, berry-producing shrubs and trees.

3) Healthy back yards that are pesticide free are better for birds, humans and our water.  Moreover, buy organic at the store. It is healthier for you, the farmers and birds.

4) Keeping cats inside is important, as freeranging cats kill more wild birds than any other single human-related cause, like windows or cars.

5) Use recycled paper, to protect the Canadian boreal forest, where hundreds of species of birds nest, and from which most U.S. paper products come.

6) Scott’s final suggestion was a surprise to many. Daily, we could make an important impact on healthy bird habitat by choosing to drink shade-grown or “Bird Friendly” coffee.  For more information on where to find Bird Friendly coffee visit the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at https://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/coffee/