It’s a difficult headline to read: 3 billion birds have died since 1970. That’s 29 percent of North America’s total population. And for a range of reasons – everything from habitat destruction to the overuse of pesticides – humans are to blame. But there IS hope! As the self-described “Birdchick” Sharon Stiteler reminded us, we’ve brought bird populations back from the brink before, and there are MANY things individuals can do to help these populations rebound. Here are some of her tips:

  1. Dirty your windows – Yes, we like clean glass, but that can spell trouble for birds. If we leave our windows just a bit grimier than usual, birds are less likely to suffer collisions.
  2. Keep those cats inside – This point always gets a reaction. We love our cats! But the science is clear: Outdoor cats are really hard on native bird populations. And cats do just fine indoors.
  3. Plane ONE native plant – If every single person with a yard planted just ONE native food source plant, it would do more good than every bird feeder in America combined. That’s why we made this last ‘to-do’ our first-ever “Wrap” homework assignment. Google a native, seed-producing plant in your area you enjoy, and put it in the ground! (Right next to those dirty windows and cat-free yards.)


Environmental stories on Almanac are sponsored by the Minnesota State Lottery.



How are loon populations faring against the West Nile virus? Why do cardinals look bald at a certain time of the year? Should you come to the rescue of baby birds? The last time Sharon Stiteler, a.k.a. the “Birdchick,” was on Almanac, she answered a veritable flock of questions. 

In a previous Almanac interview, David Gillette asked the Birdchick to liken the show’s personalities to their avian counterparts. She shares her on-point “snap judgments.”

If you think of drones as robotic birds, then this roundup of tips on how to use them to effectively and safely use them to fulfill your video storytelling ambitions is for you.