Importance of Habitat
"Study after study has shown that habitat loss and degradation are the primary threats to healthy bird populations. Nothing else comes close. That's why I am such a strong supporter of Saving Birds Thru Habitat and its programs that teach so many people how to improve habitats for birds." Dr. Gregory Butcher, Director of Bird Conservation National Audubon Society
Many spectacular migrating songbirds, like this Indigo Bunting - as well as others such as warblers, orioles and thrushes - are experiencing population declines. Most of these species depend on insects for at least part of their needs, and all must have insects to feed their young. By and large, native plants host those insects. It is the goal of Saving Birds Thru Habitat to improve habitat for these migrants, one backyard at a time. Check out our Habitat Hints page to learn more.
Scarlet Tanagers, like the one shown here, are experiencing a steep population decline. One of the ways to help this species, and others - like warblers - is to purchase shade-grown coffee. Many of the songbirds that breed in North America spend part or all of the winter in shade coffee plantations. Check out our Shade Coffee Habitat page to learn more about the differences between shade and sun coffee plantations, and the effect each has on birds.
Eastern Bluebirds experienced declining populations for decades because of habitat loss and nest site competition with European Starlings and House Sparrows. When people began mounting nest boxes for this beautiful and popular bird, their numbers improved. This is an example of how people can make a positive difference for our nesting bird population. Check out plans for the Tree Branch Bluebird House for the safest and most effective housing for bluebirds.
Frank Zuern, the Wisconsin "bluebirder" who designed this style, tested the temperature differential between the Tree Branch box and the traditional "upright" style by placing a calibrated temperature probe inside each. His research revealed that the temperature inside the traditional box climbed fifteen degrees above ambient. Thus, if the mercury rises to 92 degrees, the temperature inside the upright box topped out at 107 degrees. At 106 degrees, the eggs will addle (become unviable) or nestlings will die of heat stress like a dog in a car. But temperature in his Tree Branch Bluebird Box, only rose two degrees above ambient. Thus this style prevents nest failure due to heat stress.