Project Act — A new initiative created by the Conservation Committee is designed for St. Paul Audubon members interested in “on the ground” involvement to help our native birds. Project Act includes bird surveys, habitat documentation, planting native plants, removing invasive species and making our backyards more bird friendly. Check the calendar for upcoming Project Act activities.
Build a backyard brush pile to provide shelter for birds in winter. Birds seek out such piles to provide cover from wind and cold and form predators. A brush pile can be either a loose collection of twigs and branches or a more formal structure with a log foundation. For more information, see The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds by Stephen Kress.
A fun and easy survey of winter birds that visit participants’ feeders. You use standardized reporting guidelines to help scientists monitor the species and number of birds throughout North America. People with any level of bird identification skills are encouraged to participate. A side benefit — you will improve your birding skills and learn a lot about local birds. When you join, you will receive a great project kit with instructions, a handbook, posters and tally sheets.
Dates — November to April
Time — Your commitment is flexible, some time on two consecutive days during each reporting period
Skills — Novice to Expert
Cost — $18 ($15 for members of Cornell Lab). The fee is used for participant materials, website, data management and analysis.
For more information or to participate, visit Project FeederWatch or call 1-800-843-2473.
Sandhill Crane Count
The Sandhill Cranes are back in Minnesota and beginning breeding rituals. Each year, International Crane Foundations (ICF) asks crane counters to spend 2 hours in April scouting for breeding cranes. Devoted counters in Ramsey County have found likely locations and are always looking for new recruits. This is a great way to work with experienced volunteers if you are not familiar with Cranes.
Dates — April
Skills — Novice to Expert
Cost — Free
For more information, visit Annual Midwest Crane Count.
Bird-Proofing Your Windows
Birds and windows simply don’t mix. Window strikes occur because trees and sky get reflected in glass, or they can see through to the scenery beyond. Window strikes kill hundreds of millions of birds each year, causing head injuries and broken bones. Windows pose a major problem, but we can help stop the carnage by doing a few simple things.
- The “rule of 3 or 30.” Place feeders and birdbaths MORE than 30 feet away from or WITHIN 3 feet of windows. Distance adds to their avoidance time; proximity prevents birds from building killing momentum.
- Make windows look less like the outdoors by breaking up the expanse. Raptor silhouette decals work, if you attach enough of them to break the glass into small sections. Or put up spider web appliqués. Paint the glass with a large plaid pattern of fluorescent & Glow in the Dark water based craft paint. You will be able to see through if your stripes are narrow.
- Hang mesh netting across the outside of frequently hit widows. If birds hit the netting they just bounce off. Hang an old storm window screen or screen door in front of a particularly lethal window.
- Try other ways to break up a window’s reflectivity such as hanging a tree branch in front of it, spray fake snow in the corners, rub leftover suds from washing the car, hand Mylar strips, shiny pie plates or CDs that move in the breeze.
For more information, visit Audubon Minnesota’s BirdSafe Homes.