De Soto is proud to be a Wisconsin Bird City.
De Soto Village Council – Bird City Resolution 10-20-18
Situated in the Great Lakes / Mississippi River Flyway with thousands of acres of prime habitat, the De Soto area is an outstanding place to enjoy all sorts of bird life.
The Bird City Wisconsin organization provides highly visible public recognition to municipalities that understand that healthy communities are the sum of many parts, including birds.
For More on Bird City Wisconsin -> Visit their Homepage
Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring
Supporting the establishment of natural lawns and native landscaping is a very important aspect of creating a bird friendly environment in any community.
Bird-friendly landscaping provides food, saves water, and fights climate change.
Your garden is your outdoor sanctuary. With some careful plant choices, it can be a haven for native birds as well. Landscaped with native species, your yard, patio, or balcony becomes a vital recharge station for birds passing through and a sanctuary for nesting and overwintering birds.
Each patch of restored native habitat is just that—a patch in the frayed fabric of the ecosystem in which it lies. By landscaping with native plants, we can turn a patchwork of green spaces into a quilt of restored habitat.
Better for Birds
More native plants mean more choices of food and shelter for native birds and other wildlife.
To survive, native birds need native plants and the insects that have co-evolved with them. Most landscaping plants available in nurseries are exotic species from other countries. Many are prized for qualities that make them poor food sources for native birds—like having leaves that are unpalatable to native insects and caterpillars. With 96 percent of all terrestrial bird species in North America feeding insects to their young, planting insect-proof exotic plants is like serving up plastic food. No insects? No birds.
Audubon Society – Plants for Birds Initiative
Limiting or Removing Threats to Birds
Control free-roaming domestic and feral house cats
House cats pose a significant threat to the safety and well-being of many birds. The careful control of cats to prevent free-roaming in the outdoors can increase or stabilize the bird population in urban areas.
Cats #1 Threat to Birds
Predation by domestic cats is the number-one direct, human-caused threat to birds in the United States and Canada.
In the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year. Although this number may seem unbelievable, it represents the combined impact of tens of millions of outdoor cats. Each outdoor cat plays a part.
Ever since the invention of kitty litter, cat owners have realized the many benefits of keeping their furry companions safely indoors, on a leash, or otherwise safely contained. This transition has enabled cats to live longer and healthier lives, resulting in fewer trips to the veterinarian and extending the years of mutual companionship. Keeping cats safely contained also protects birds and other wildlife from a cat’s instinctive predatory drive.
American Bird Conservancy – Cats Indoors
Protect birds from deadly window strikes
Have you heard the “thud” as a bird hits your window? You’re not alone. Every U.S. home kills about two birds each year—including long-distance migrants like Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.
To birds, trees and sky reflected in glass appear to be habitat. They fly into windows at high speeds, and the loss of life is staggering. Up to one billion birds are killed by collisions with glass in the United States every year. (There are easy ways to help!)
Natural pest control and better science to minimize pesticide use
They are readily available on store shelves, used on everything from produce to pets. But many pesticides have harmful, even deadly, impacts.
Pesticides are widely used in our homes and gardens, from sprays for ornamental plants that are toxic to birds and bees, to rat poisons that sicken raptors and kids. It’s a mistake to assume these products are safe simply because they are for sale.
An example is neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” now the most-used pesticides on Earth. Neonics are contributing to die-offs of honeybees. They are also so deadly to birds that a single neonic-coated seed can kill a songbird. Birds that frequent agricultural fields, like Bobolink, are particularly at risk.
Energy and Sustainability
Public buildings LEED certified as bird-friendly
The modification or construction of buildings that are intentionally designed to protect birds and the environment is a important aspect of bird conservation.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building, community and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.
Bird-friendly Buildings: “Bird-Friendly Building Design” provides detailed information and recommendations on designing structures that minimize bird deaths and is especially helpful to those looking to apply voluntary guidelines or mandatory standards for buildings.
TO SUMMARIZE THE MESSAGE:
The American Bird Conservancy recently created the Top Ten Ways to Help Birds. These actions are so good that Bird City Wisconsin borrowed and adapted them to share with you. Are you up to the challenge?
1. Keep your cat indoors.
Being inside is best for your cat. Did you know that indoor cats live three to seven years longer than cats that go outside? Cats are also responsible for an estimated 2.4 billion bird deaths each year (and 12 billion mammals). In the spring, young birds or nestlings often end up on the ground, attracting the fatal attention of a nearby cat. Ground-nesting species that are especially vulnerable include Killdeer and Wood Thrush, but all baby birds—from ducks to warblers—will be on the ground for a critical period of time.
2. Prevent window collisions.
As many as one billion birds die each year after colliding with glass in buildings. You can reduce this problem at your home by applying a variety of window treatments. For example, products like Acopian Bird Savers and ABC BirdTape are proven solutions that are inexpensive and long-lasting. (See a short video here.) Birds most prone to fatal collisions at home windows or glass doors include Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Wood Thrush.
3. Eliminate pesticides from your yard.
Even those pesticides that are not directly toxic to birds can pollute waterways and reduce insects that birds rely on for food. For rodent control, seal cracks, remove food sources, and use snap and electric traps rather than rodenticides, which can poison raptors such as hawks and owls as well as young children. And be sure not to garden with neonicotinoid-coated seeds, or neonics, which are lethal to songbirds as well as to bees and other invertebrates. Learn more here.
4. Buy organic food and drink Smithsonian-certified Bird Friendly® coffee.
Going organic helps reduce pesticide use on farms and increases the market for produce grown without the use of pesticides that can be toxic to birds and other animals. It will also help to reduce the use of these hazardous chemicals in the United States and overseas. Shade coffee farms have been shown to provide far superior habitat for birds than coffee grown in open sun. Drinking only Bird Friendly®-certified coffee is one of the easiest ways to help migratory birds.
5. Create backyard habitat using native plants.
When you garden with plants that evolved in your local habitat, you supply native insects and their larvae with food. The insects are an irreplaceable food source provided by birds to their nestlings. Yards both large and small can benefit birds and other wildlife. Create a diverse landscape by planting native grasses, flowers, and shrubs that attract birds. You will be rewarded by their beauty and song and have fewer insect pests as a result. Find bird-friendly native plants for your area using Audubon’s Plants for Birds site.
6. Reduce your carbon footprint.
While all forms of energy use affect birds, small individual actions add up and can make a difference. Use a hand-pushed or electric lawnmower, carpool, and use low-energy bulbs and Energy Star appliances. Less energy used means less habitat destroyed for energy production.
7. Donate old bird-watching equipment.
Binoculars or spotting scopes will be appreciated by local bird watching groups—they can get them to schools or biologists in other countries who may not have the resources they need. More people studying birds means more voices for bird conservation!
8. Keep bird feeders and baths clean and in the right place to keep birds alive.
If you feed the birds, make sure you aren’t accidentally allowing the spread of disease. Disinfect feeders and bird baths, and change water regularly or use a drip system to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. The safest locations for bird feeders is within three feet of your house or more than 30 feet away. When the feeder is really close, a bird will not be able to gain enough speed to have a fatal window collision. When the feeder is really far away, birds are better able to perceive that your windows are part of your house and not a flyway. The size of your windows and vegetation can also play a role.
9. Support bird-friendly legislation… and VOTE!
U.S. policy makers frequently make decisions that affect birds. For example, decisions are now being made that will impact the survival of the imperiled Greater Sage-Grouse. By raising your voice, you can help to influence the outcome for birds on this and other important issues.
10. Do what it takes to make sure that you live in a Bird City Wisconsin community and join two bird conservation groups.
You are probably aware that living in a Bird City means that conservation and education advocates work together and that your local elected officials listen. If your community isn’t currently a Bird City, you should consider starting an application today. Your support for organizations that conduct effective education and outreach provides needed dollars for bird conservation, enabling you to help achieve more than is possible through individual efforts. Membership also enables you to become more informed and involved in the issues you’re concerned about.
Lansing, IA – Birding Guide