Chesapeake Bay Field Office
Northeast Region



artwork by Carol Decker
for IMBD '99

Keep cats indoors
In conjunction with IMBD,
the American Bird
Conservancy is publicizing its
Cats Indoors! Campaign.

predatory cat

Studies have shown that
20-30% of cats' prey is birds

There are at least 68 million
pet cats in United States.

Cat owners can reduce the
number of birds maimed and
killed by cats simply by keeping
their cats indoors. This is also
beneficial to cats.

Indoor cats are generally
healthier and live longer
then cats allowed
to roam outdoors.


International Migratory Bird Day

Many birds winter in the tropical regions of southern North America and Central and South America. More than 360 species of birds make this annual migration flying between wintering grounds in the tropics and breeding grounds in North America and the Arctic.

Some of these birds are common to us - the ruby-throated hummingbird, gray catbird, purple martin, barn swallow and chimney swift. Others, such as the red-eyed vireo, scarlet tanager, wood thrush and Cape May warbler, may be familiar only to bird watchers.

In recent decades evidence has mounted that many nepotropical migratory bird popoulations are declining. One of the primary causes to these declines is the loss of suitable habitat. Fields, forests and wetlands are disappearing as the result of development.

Why should we be concerned?

Birds Preserve Crops and Forests

  • Birds are our best natural insect control, eating tons of insects annually.
  • A pair of adult warblers remove caterpillars from more than a million leaves in the 2-3 weeks they are rearing young.
  • Seed-eating birds help distribute seeds to promote forest growth.
  • Birds that drink nectar, like orioles and hummingbirds, help to pollinate other plants.

Bird watching is good for the economy

  • According to the 1996 National Survey of Fishing Hunting, and Wildlife-associated Recreation, almost 63 million Americans participated in wildlife-watching activities.
  • In 1996, Americans spent more than $29 billion for expenses related to wildlife-watching activities.
  • Seventy-five percent of all Americans who took trips specifically for wildlife watching were checking out our avian friends.
  • Birding is the fastest growing outdoor recreation, with a 150% increase in the past decade.

What can be done to help?

Create habitat. Although public lands are extremely important for migrating birds, they cannot provide the food, cover and nesting sites that birds need.

What is the "Coffee Connection?"

The theme for IMBD 2001 is helping people make the "Coffee Connection." Consumer awareness is key to returning shade-grown coffee to the shelves and maintaining trees in the tropics. If you’re a coffee lover, consider buying shade-grown coffee. IMBD is a perfect venue for raising awareness. Bird walk breakfasts, lectures, festivals, and other IMBD activities are an excellent opportunity to share information about the benefits of shade-grown coffee and for encouraging increased supply and demand.Wintering habitats in Central and South America are also being altered; some due to clear-cut coffee plantantions.

For more information about shade-grown coffee, contact the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (202) 857-0166 or the American Bird Conservancy (888) BIRD-MAG

Reduce pesticide use

Most of the active ingredients known to be toxic to birds belong to one of three classes of chemicals: organochlorines, organophosphates and carbamates.

  • Before using a pesticide, determine whether you actually have a problem.
  • If you must use a pesticide, use a low impact I types of pesticides like dormant oils, insecticidal soaps or repellents free of organic solvents. Contact your local cooperative extension service for more information.

For more information visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's International Migratory Bird Day page. It lists a registry of events, and a catalog of promotional and educational materials, such as posters, t-shirts, activity guides, and more.

Last updated: January 6, 2011