What You Can Do to Help Save Birds

Perhaps we cannot do much ourselves to help the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler (shown in Sam Barone’s photo at the top of the page) but there are many things that we can do to help save birds.

Write a Letter

Implement Bridget Stutchbury’s List

Take Action

Give Financial Support

Join Up

Write a LetterTop

Nature Canada has tips for all of us who want to help by writing letters.

These tips will help you write a persuasive letter to a politician, administrator, landowner or media outlet:

  • Keep it short: one page and one issue.
  • Identify yourself and the issue.
  • Focus on your main points.
  • Make it personal: why the issue matters to you and how it affects you, your family, and your community.
  • Ask for a reply. Include your name and address on both your letter and envelope.
  • Trust your voice. Be polite and take a firm position in your letter.
  • Consider copying influential people and friends us on your letter.

Implement Bridget Stutchbury’s ListTop

Bridget Stutchbury’s Silence of the Songbirds, an inspiring book, and not a difficult read, that has a list of things you can do for songbirds with links to other websites for more detail.

  1. Coffee: buy only certified organic, bird–friendly, shade grown coffee. Our understanding is that organic coffee is shade–grown, and President’s Choice organic coffee is cheaper than coffee from health food stores. ‘Just Us’ and ‘Kicking Horse’ are two Canadian distributors of organic, shade-grown, fair trade coffee. One or both (and there are other brands too) can be found at many health food or organic food stores, Whole Foods and the Ten Thousand Villages stores. You can also search on-line. A good place to start is the Audubon Coffee Page.

    In Toronto is Birds and Beans (website) which is not far from Humber Bay. They are one of the the Canadian roasters that offers and actively promotes Certified Shade Grown coffee. David Pritchard writes “ ‘Certified Shade’ is important because the definition of ‘shade’ can be as little as a few trees on the farm – which does little for the birds. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) has done a lot of research in this area and they have shown that the birds require a shade canopy made up from a number of different species of trees – something that is more forest–like than farm–like. Coffee farms that meet this standard are certified ‘Bird Friendly®’ by the SMBC and the Rainforest Alliance (website) also uses this criterion when certifying coffee as ‘Shade Grown’”.

  2. Food: The following tend to be grown with lots of pesticides - buy organic or eat something else:

    • Tropical produce (e.g. bananas, pineapple)

    • Brussel sprouts

    • Celery

    • Cranberry

    • Cabbage

    • Potatoes

  3. Wood: check for Forest Stewardship Council certification

  4. Paper: check that it is recycled or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

  5. Reduce bird-window collisions:

    • Turn your lights off at night during migration (warm March weather – early June, Aug 7 – mid-November).

    • Place bird feeders less than 1 meter from a window.

    • Close curtains and blinds or use venetian blinds, coatings, etching or other means to reduce reflectivity/transparency of windows. See Being Bird Friendly here for details and more.

  6. Make your backyard bird-friendly:

    • Plant shrubs and trees.

    • Use no pesticides except insecticidal soap.

  7. Keep cats indoors.

Check out the Audubon At Home page for many ideas about actions you can take around the home.

Take ActionTop

Subscribe to
Action Alerts

The Take Action Page for Nature Canada has links to several projects that you can help support through action or donation. Nature Canada “needs people who care about nature to raise their voice and tell government and other decision–makers about the importance of nature and why we need to protect it.”

If you join their site, Nature Canada will send you an Action Alert by email when they need your help. They will include information about an issue and recommend an action for you to take.


Volunteer your time. From volunteer monitoring programs to letter-writing campaigns, find out how you can help protect your “Nature Nation” at the Nature Canada site.

Develop in a Bird
Friendly Way

The City of Toronto Green Development Standard includes the City of Toronto Bird Friendly Development Guidelines which were adopted by city council in 2007. All developers must adhere to these guidlelines if they want site development approval. The guidelines, however, are applicable to almost any building project in the city.

If you are considering a building project, please take the time to check out the guideline website or print the PDF version of the guideline.

TOC member John Carley played a part in the creation and adoption of the guidelines.

Give Financial SupportTop

Make a Donation

The Take Action Page for Nature Canada has a “Donate Today” button that connects you to the Nature Canada campaign page where you can make an online donation.

Give a Gift

For birthdays, weddings and funerals – find out ways that you can give the gift of nature to celebrate or commemorate loved ones on special occasions through Nature Canada.

Donate Equipment

Jessica Steiner spoke to the TOC a couple of years ago about the Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Program, and she sends us the following request.

“I am trying to acquire 2–3 pairs of good quality used binoculars for use in the eastern loggerhead shrike recovery program for this and future years, and am asking for your help to spread the word through your various networks. I am hoping that perhaps there are some people out there who have recently received new binoculars and are looking for a worthy cause to donate their old pair to! Because we hire interns every year, from various backgrounds, they don’t always own a good pair of binoculars and I would like to have some “program binoculars” available for them to use over the summer for both monitoring the captive pairs, and surveying for wild shrikes out in the field. We do have a couple of very small pairs that are fine for watching the bird feeder in the backyard, but really aren’t adequate for our needs. We are really looking for some good birding binoculars (e.g. 8 X 40, 8 x 42, or 10 x 42).

I would appreciate any help you can offer with this. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you feel may be able to help. Wildlife Preservation Canada would be able to provide a charitable tax receipt for any donation.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Thanks!”

Jessica Steiner
Species Recovery Biologist
Wildlife Preservation Canada
RR#5 5420 Highway 6 North,
Guelph ON N1H 6J2
Tel: 519–836–9314

Become a
Regular Donor

Join the Nature Canada “Guardian of Nature” team. “Your monthly gifts quickly add up to a significant amount of conservation action over time – making it one of the best ways to ensure a future for Canada’s nature.”

Leave a Legacy

You can help protect nature forever by leaving a bequest or gift of life insurance to conservation organisations such as Nature Canada.

Involve Your Corporation

Nature Canada points out the many employers have matching gift programs that will match each donation made by their employees to a registered charity.

Your gift can have twice as much impact!

As an employer, you can maximize your contribution to conserving Canada's natural treasures by developing a Matching Gift program. Many companies (of all sizes, from 15 to 150,000 employees) can double the benefits of their employees' conservation dollars by matching individual donations on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Join UpTop


You can volunteer to be a member of the Fatal Light Awareness Program. One to ten million migratory birds collide with windows in Toronto each year. This global problem is the cause of decline for many bird species - some of which are already threatened with extinction. Collisions with structures are now the leading cause of death to migratory birds. Please see the brochure at the right. For more info click here. Or

or call FLAP directly at (416) 366-FLAP extension 3527.