In a previous article, we discussed with the Schuylkill Center’s Sydney Glisan the principal reasons that birds are brought to the Center’s rehabilitation clinic. Most of the reasons Glisan listed were human-caused. Although we can’t prevent all bird mortalities, there are many steps that we as individuals can take to lessen our impact on injury or death.

One step you can take is to put your pet on a leash or purchase a playpen so they can stay contained while enjoying outdoor playtime. Glisan stated that if your cat attacks a bird, even if the bird seems uninjured, you should still take it to a rehabilitator for treatment. This is because their saliva has bacteria in it that can prove fatal to birds if not addressed.

Check your house for any place where birds could potentially build nests. “Before spring arrives, patch any holes in your walls and place gutter guards in to keep birds from getting inside,” said Glisan. “If you plan to have trees cut or removed on your property, do so prior to spring, or thoroughly check the tree for nests before having any work done.”

You can also apply bird-safe window tape to any windows to prevent birds from colliding with them. At night, be sure to turn off any outdoor lights during migration season, which can disorient birds while they travel overnight and can lead them off track.

Lastly, be sure to properly dispose of metal objects, including fishing sinkers, hooks, screws, and washers, as heavy metal toxicity is a big issue for bird health. If you hunt, consider replacing your lead bullets with alternatives such as copper.

“Our goal at the Schuylkill Wildlife Clinic is to promote living in harmony with the wild animals that call Philadelphia home,” said Glisan. By taking simple preventative measures, you can help keep the birds of Philadelphia healthy and thriving.

If you find an injured bird or other animal in the Philadelphia area, you can take it to the Wildlife Clinic at the Schuylkill Center during their winter hours of 10:00 AM-4:00 PM every day. If you’re looking for more bird safety tips, you can visit Bird Safe Philly’s website.

By Danielle Hagerty