Archives
November 20, 2018
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
LandPaths connects people to protected land Cotati allows second dispensary Station Avenue gets final approval Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Election projected winners November 6, 2018 Woman stabbed on west side of RP RP Foundation issues grant Titans crush Mustangs  Cougars blow past Gauchos  CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute The Community Voice endorses candidates Cougars crush Ukiah School board candidates voice opinions State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park Rancho crushes Analy A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Rohnert Park City Council Candidates Summit State Bank annual report Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site Scrappers Steal Win Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ New interim superintendent Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cardinals rout Cougars How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Thinking beyond the bird feeder

By: By Lishka Arata, PRBO Conservation Educator
December 3, 2009

A question asked of students at the end of a bird conservation activity is, “So, how do you think you could help birds when you go home?” Often the first response from children and adults alike is, “I can feed them!”
They are usually talking about putting up a man-made bird feeder that dispenses store-bought birdseed. Continuing the discussion with the bird conservation activity audience, it’s pointed out the larger more interesting context to think within when one aims to help birds at home. In order to truly help birds at home, one must think outside of the bird feeder and within an ecological framework.
The bottom line is birds are not doing so well. Bird population monitoring data, gathered and analyzed for over 40 years by PRBO Conservation Science biologists, have shown many bird species’ populations are declining.
The main cause for this negative trend is loss and degradation of habitat due to human activity such as industry, development, and pollution. Despite this discouraging news, there are effective ways everyone can help to halt and reverse this downward trend.

A holistic approach
Feeding birds is definitely one way to help them at home. While using a man-made bird feeder is fun and relatively easy, there is a much safer, more appropriate and holistic method of feeding birds. Native plants.
Native plants provide nectar, seeds, and fruit and attract insects that native birds have naturally evolved to eat over millions of years. There are many native plants that are attractive to the eye and wallet as well as the bird and the bee. Since native plants are adapted to the soils and climate of the local area, they require little to no water and fertilizer maintenance, which makes them environmentally and economically friendly. Not only do native plants supply bird food, they also provide shelter from weather and predators as well as nesting spots and material, and shelter for chicks fresh out of the nest. A Coyote Bush, baccharis pilularis, could be a migratory or resident bird’s one-stop shopping spot. There are endless benefits to landscaping with native plants.

The predator-prey balance
Helping to maintain a healthy predator-prey balance is another way to help birds in your neighborhood. PRBO nest monitoring data indicates predation is the primary cause of nest failure and therefore the greatest barrier to avian productivity. Predation is a natural part of the food web and ecological systems, but the introduction of exotic or non-native predators or an imbalance in predator-prey numbers can have detrimental effects on bird populations. Some ways we can all help maintain healthy predator-prey relationships in our local ecosystems include keeping domestic cats indoors, especially during the breeding season (March through August), making sure you are not supplementing avian nest predator diet such as jays, crows, or ravens with pet food left outside or bird feeders, and keeping your dog on a leash, especially during the breeding season. If your home is near a beach, these responsible actions greatly help shorebirds, like the endangered beach-nesting Snowy Plover, to survive and reproduce and in open grassy fields where a variety of songbirds like sparrows nest on the ground.
Awareness is the key. It is important to be aware of the fact that, like it or not, everyone is a part of the natural ecosystem and actions always have an effect on our surrounding environment. Purchasing or borrowing some binoculars and a field guide and learning about the birds living in your neighborhood is a great place to start helping birds at home. Backyard landscaping with native plants, gaining awareness of birds’ needs, and being responsible pet owners are significantly effective ways to continue helping birds at home.
To learn more, join Lishka Arata Dec. 7 at 7pm at the Ray Miller Community Center, 216 E. School St., Cotati (behind Cotati City Hall) or visit www.prbo.org, and/or visit your local native plant nursery.