What is National Bird Day?
Birds have always held special place in our hearts, which is why we celebrate them on National Bird Day every January 5! While birds are amazing, they’re also a massive animal group under particular threat. And the phrase “canary in the coal mine” was named after birds for a reason—they’re the barometers of our planet’s environmental health. The fact that so many bird species are under threat thanks to the illegal pet trade, disease, and habitat loss means it’s more important than ever to raise public awareness of the needs of birds. The survival of hundreds of species depends on it!
History of National Bird Day
Whether they’re your backyard’s star cardinal or the common pigeons that flock to and fro in the park, birds have always held a spot of fascination, love, and adoration in our hearts. There’s a certain awe that can only be tapped into when watching an eagle soar. Unfortunately, most birds are either endangered or protected, this is mostly due to habitat loss or illegal pet trade.
That’s why the Avian Welfare Coalition created National Bird Day: to raise awareness of the hardships and plights of these important animals and how we can initiate the change needed to create a healthier, more sustainable relationship with them.
Birds are often considered living links to the past, being the closest-related animals to the evolution of dinosaurs. They’re often keystone species in the ecosystems, signifiers of its health and vitality. For example, the holes left behind by woodpeckers are often used as homes for a large variety of other animals. That means if woodpeckers were to run out of a food source – or out of the right kinds of trees – so, too, would all the animals dependent on their pecking skills.
While National Bird Day may be relatively new, having been founded in 2002, the adversity that birds have had to face is nothing novel to the animal kingdom. Just ask the Dodo, the Labrador Duck, or the Passenger Pigeon, considered sacred by many Native American tribes and often the subject of many works of American art until its demise.
National Bird Day Traditions
Read an Audubon book
The Birds of America, created by John James Audubon, is just as much a work of art as it is a seminal work of scientific mastery.
Build a birdhouse
Birds need housing, just like every other animal. As we continue to deforest large swaths of the planet for development, it’s imperative for us to create birdhouses to make up for – even just a fraction – the loss of habitat they face everyday.
Feed some birds
Bread crumbs, nuts, and seeds. If you got some trail mix you don’t want anymore, birds would love you. In fact, if you have chickens you can actually feed them most food and table scraps and they’ll gobble it (had to!) right up.