Today is National Bird Day! Taking care of and living in tandem with birds is an amazing part of living in the Pacific Northwest, as there are numerous native bird species that call this place home and plenty of backyard chickens (like my own) that are cared for around the region. One of my favorite parts of the year is hearing all the bird whistles during the spring time; hearing so many different bird whistles in the spring is just a wonderful reminder that we made it through another cold, dark winter.

There are so many wild birds that call the Pacific Northwest home. For example, there are several species of woodpeckers, like the red-breasted sapsucker,that will drill into trees looking for insects and sap. There are also several different species of seabirds that colonize different coastal areas during the spring and summer to mate but will spend the rest of the year out on the ocean.

One such seabird species is the iconic tufted puffin that lives off the Oregon coast, among many other places along the Pacific Ocean. These birds are sometimes described as looking like a mix between a parrot and a penguin and will spend most of the year living out at sea but will come to shore to mate.

These are just some of the birds that live here, as there are so many more. Bald eagles, red tailed hawks, barn owls, American robins, and Steller’s Jays are just a few more examples. But while there are so many bird species here, there are just as many threats that impact their lives and habitats.

Around the world, there are millions of acres of bird habitats that are lost or degraded because of human activity (primarily development, agricultural, and forestry practices). Birds have also died after hitting cars, electrical lines, and the windows on buildings or being caught by pet cats. They’re also greatly affected by oil spills and climate change, two factors greatly influenced by humans.

There’s also a campaign from the Avian Welfare Coalition about bird mills and the ways in which wild birds are caught and sold as pets. And like with any pet, making the decision to adopt a bird like a parakeet or a parrot isn’t one to be made lightly. For example, introducing nonnative species into any area by releasing an unwanted pet bird can cause problems for native species and the pet. And Oregon is just one of many places that’s struggling to help all the exotic birds that need new homes for whatever reason.

Birds are a wonderful and vital part of the Pacific Northwest. Happy National Bird Day everyone!

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