The new year brings big challenges for our birds and communities – and new opportunities to help. The birds you love are counting on you to raise your voice and recruit friends. Together, we will show our elected officials that North Carolinians love birds and want habitat protection and clean energy – for the good of birds and people alike. At the same time, we’ll add native plants and nest boxes to our yards and our neighborhoods and advocate for bird-friendly practices at the community level – making sure our bird populations are resilient in a changing climate.
There’s a lot here that anyone can do to help birds. Trained Audubon Ambassadors get access to additional tools and resources to get the job done – presentations, printed materials, support from staff. Not an Audubon Ambassador yet? Check out our current training schedule here.
#1 Make New Year’s Resolutions for the birds -- resolve to reduce your household’s carbon footprint this year and to raise your voice for the birds every week using this action calendar.
#2 Look up who represents you in state and federal legislatures and put their office numbers in your phone so you’re ready to call and speak up for birds at a moment’s notice. Check out tips on how to communicate with elected officials here.
#3 Invite 5 friends to join the Audubon Ambassadors by attending a training – Cary Jan. 7, Bolivia Feb. 17, Greensboro March 11, Hendersonville March 31.
#4 Host a birds & climate change house party for friends, provide bird note cards and write notes to your NC lawmakers letting them know habitat protection and clean energy are important to you because you love birds. Make sure everyone signs up for Audubon’s Action Alerts and get tips on letter-writing here.
#5 Offer to help your neighbors count birds next month for the Great Backyard Bird Count by posting a note on your neighborhood email list or Facebook page.
#6 Discover the most important areas in North Carolina for birds as our climate changes on our new climate strongholds map - to be released in early 2017.
#7 Show your love for your favorite bird on Valentine’s Day by writing an open letter on social media and tagging Audubon North Carolina. For example – “Dear Brown-headed Nuthatch, your sweet squeaks make me smile every day! Love, Mary”
#8 Count birds in the Great Backyard Bird Count (Feb. 17-20, President’s Day weekend) – anywhere, anytime, for 15 minutes or longer. Share at birdcount.org.
#9 Order your Audubon Plants for Birds yard sign – so you’re ready for spring.
#10 Sign up for Audubon Lobby Day at the NC General Assembly later this month. Details TBA.
#11 Find bird-friendly plants for your garden this spring – get started by entering your zip code in the National Audubon Society native plants database. Then refer to our North Carolina bird-friendly plant list for size, light and moisture requirements, and more to help you decide where to plant.
#12 Encourage your friends to Plant for Birds with this video of King residents Cara and Tony Woods talking about how they transformed their yard and why – because there’s no McDonald’s to support hungry birds making a pit stop during spring migration!
#13 Register for the Carolina Bird Club meeting April 27-29 in Winston-Salem – our own Kim Brand, leader of NC Audubon Ambassadors, will present on how to help birds in a changing climate, and there will be tons of birding trips with expert guides.
#14 Invite a local official – your town council member, county commissioner, your neighbor who is a city planner, the head of the parks department – to go birding with you at a stop on the NC Birding Trail or Important Bird Area.
#15 Celebrate the return of Wood Thrushes to North Carolina (ETA April 15) by sharing the inspiring Wood Thrush Connection film produced by the Climate Listening Project.
#16 Visit your favorite local nursery and tell them you want to buy Bird-Friendly Native Plants from this list.
#18 Wish your friends who own forested land a happy Arbor Day and encourage them to sign up for our Working Lands ebulletin to learn how they can manage their land for birds.
#19 Meet our 2017 Bird of the Year, the Prothonotary Warbler, at a location near you – and better yet, offer to lead the birding portion of a bird-paddle trip for a local paddling group. Riverkeepers are a great place to start.
#20 Sign up for our Bird-Friendly Communities ebulletin for the latest on how you can help birds in your yard, your neighborhood, and your entire community – and encourage 5 friends to join you.
#21 Sign up for a Climate Watch count (June 15-30) near you.
#22 Kick off beach season by encouraging your friends to Share the Beach with birds – many of which are vulnerable to a changing climate and sea level rise -- by posting this fun, short, action-oriented video.
#23 Did you know that Audubon NC sanctuaries support more than a third of the waterbirds that nest in North Carolina? Sign up for coastal-bird updates here – and encourage 5 beach-loving friends to join you.
#24 Check your nest boxes and enter data at nestwatch.org.
#25 Read a bird book and consider it for your book club. Two books that are sure to generate lively discussion: Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible by Debbie Blue and H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald, a memoir that entwines a woman’s extraordinary relationship with her Goshawk with a life-changing loss.
#26 Share your hummingbird observations at hummingbirdsathome.org – or get the app.
#27 Invite 10 neighbors to Birds & Beer night at your house. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an Audubon Jeopardy game you can share on a smart TV or print.
#28 Get the free Audubon Bird Guide app – and the next time someone asks you a bird question, recommend they get it too. This is a great way to bring new people into the Audubon network.
#29 Register for Audubon NC Chapter Day -- a fun way to connect with Audubon Ambassadors, staff, and chapter leaders from across the state and share ideas and resources.
#30 Get your house assessed for solar by a local solar company.
#31 Sign up for updates from our Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Sanctuary and Audubon Center at Corolla, from events for nature lovers to the latest research on how to preserve marsh habitat for birds in the face of sea level rise. Better yet – plan a visit!
#32 Spread the word about birds and our changing climate through this video story of Curtis Smalling, our Director of Conservation, who has watched birds his entire life – from UNC Climate Stories.
#33 Schedule a bird presentation with a garden club, civic group, neighborhood association, or corporate lunch & learn. PowerPoints and scripts are available for these topics: bird gardening, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Chimney Swifts, birds and climate change, how to prevent bird collisions, gardening for hummingbirds.
#34 Share this webpage (coming soon) with your local scouts – the Girl Scout who sells you cookies, the leader of the troop that meets at your church, any scouts or scout leaders you know – and encourage them to consider projects that help birds this year.
#36 All month long, check schools, churches, and other buildings with old chimneys for Chimney Swifts diving into chimneys at dusk – and find ways you can help them here.
#37 Get more people to plant flowers for hummingbirds by posting this note on social media: Did you know that a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which only weighs as much as 2 dimes, flies 500 miles non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico? Blooming fall flowers in your yard will help her make the trip!
#38 Encourage your neighbors to Plant for Birds by sharing a photo of your Audubon Plants for Birds sign on your neighborhood email list or Facebook group. (And while you’re at it, brag about birds you’ve seen in your yard.)
#39 Contact your city or county parks and recreation director about putting up nest boxes for Prothonotary Warblers in local parks and along greenways where habitat is good and wet.
#40 Fall is the best time for planting trees and shrubs in North Carolina. Plant bird-friendly trees and shrubs so birds find the food they need in your yard. Find plants for your area here and all the info you need to decide where to plant them here.
#41 At fall festivals, chat with people about birds and how they can help – and sign them up for Audubon emails. Email handwritten signup sheet to email@example.com or have people sign up on the spot.
#42 Leave the leaves! Find out why – and what to do with them – here.
#43 Join the Butterfly Highway with our friends at NC Wildlife Federation (you’ll help birds, too!).
#44 Write a letter to the editor about birds and climate change. Give it the best shot at publication by referencing a recent article in the newspaper; you might need to hold it until a news article appears. More tips here.
#45 Take someone birding for their first time – a child, a neighbor with bird feeders, anyone! – it’s easier to see birds with the leaves off the trees.
#46 Pursue a native-plants ordinance for your town or county. Find out how Audubon leaders got the job done in Winston-Salem and get step-by-step instructions and helpful tips here.
#47 Post on social media about a bird you’re thankful for and tag Audubon North Carolina.
#48 Write a thank-you letter to someone in your community who has done a lot of help birds this year.
#49 Sign up for the Audubon Christmas Bird Count (Dec. 14 through Jan. 5 statewide) to help keep the ledger on how birds are responding to a changing climate.
#50 Give a holiday gift of birdy goodness: Brown-headed Nuthatch nest box, a copy of Dr. Larry Mellichamp’s Native Plants of the Southeast, or an Audubon-recommended bird book – ideas here.
#51 Encourage friends to sign up for Audubon Ambassador trainings in 2018.
#52 Donate to Audubon North Carolina so we can keep supporting you in your work to help birds!