Photo by: thespruce.com
January 6, 2018 9:56:30 PM
Americans in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico suffered through devastating hurricanes this year, and they weren't alone in their desolation -- Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria also caused unparalleled upheaval for wildlife, including bird populations. Many nature experts are worried about the long-term impact the horrific storms will have on migratory birds, from reducing the amount of food available to them and throwing off their migration schedules, to altering migratory courses and even exposing them to a range of man-made toxins.
Mother Nature Network points out that the storms affected two of the major "flyways" for migratory birds traveling from their breeding areas in North America to their winter homes in the south. The National Wildlife Federation reports that Texas alone is a migratory funnel for about 300 bird species, including hummingbirds, highly endangered whooping cranes and prairie chickens. Further, Audubon reports the Caribbean is home to 172 bird species found nowhere else in the world, and 56 of them are already threatened.
Given the widespread impact of the 2017 hurricane season on bird populations, which stripped foliage and natural food sources, like trees, fruits and insects, chances are good some birds who visited your backyard this year have been adversely affected.
You can do your part to support birds -- both those that migrate and ones that stay put during winter -- by providing them with food and water throughout cold-weather months.
Wild bird experts at Cole's Wild Bird Products Co. provide suggestions for meeting birds' dietary needs during difficult winter months:
Feeders should be placed in sheltered locations out of severe winds, and near protective cover like hedges to offer birds safety from predators. You can place them about five feet away from a wall or window, to avoid possible collisions and still allow for indoor birdwatching.