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Feathery Friends Facing Frost in Wake County
By Breanna Benz-Santos
Posted: 2024-02-04T17:23:33Z

By Marcee Silver and Breanna Benz-Santos

February Tip from the Environmental Committee

Birds play a vital role in the health of our planet's ecosystems, contributing to the success of countless other species. Through seed dispersal, pollination, preventing the spread of diseases by scavenging organic matter, and acting as pest control, they are vital threads in our planet’s ecological tapestry. 

Even though birds themselves have been incredibly adept at surviving, and have been around significantly longer than humans, many species are now endangered or are at risk of becoming extinct. Two species in our area have been recognized by the state as “of special concern:” the Eastern Meadowlark and the Prothonotary Warbler. We can increase the likelihood that local birds will survive by caring for birds in our own backyards during winter months. 

Want to know one simple thing YOU can DO to benefit our natural world?

Set out fresh water for birds when temperatures drop, which freezes their usual sources of standing water. Water is a relatively easy resource to share. Something as simple as a stainless-steel pet bowl or ceramic kitchen bowl will get the job done. You can continue this effort by providing water year-round, just winter and summer seasons when temperatures drive an increased need for fresh water sources, or simply focusing on harsh winter months. Do what works for you!

If you’re looking for even more ways to make a positive impact on birds this winter, you can also stock bird feeders often with high-calorie foods like black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet. Which provides extra energy that allows birds to stay warm and active. You can also leave natural shelters such as dead trees and brush piles intact in your yard, providing safe hiding places from predators and the elements.

Even these small actions can help the conservation of some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable species.

To find ways to get involved in birding groups and clubs in Wake County visit sites like Wake Audubon Society's website. Learn more about our native bird by visiting the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission's site.

To learn more about birds in their natural habitats, consider visiting birding hotspots around Wake County such as Lake Crabtree County Park, which features forests, wetlands, and lakes and Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, which has mature forests and even a cascading waterfall that attracts numerous bird species. These locations specifically attract diverse birdlife.

While you’re out birdwatching, look into eBird, a platform to record bird sightings in your area and thereby contributing to scientific findings and conservation efforts.

Protecting democracy is essential to environmental protections and healthy communities. Democracy allows us to hold our politicians accountable for environmental issues, thus protecting our community and planet from the environmental degradation that negatively impacts our economic prosperity and disproportionately affects marginalized communities. Join our Environment Committee in protecting both democracy and the earth. Members explore issues related to water quality, sustainability, plastic waste, transit, and open space. Find out more on our page or contact for information on joining the committee.