December 9, 2020
Bird-Friendly Yards and Holiday Decorations
Birds are not only beautiful and fascinating creatures, they're also an essential part of our ecosystem and the balance of nature. The steep decline of bird populations in North America since 1970 due to habitat destruction from deforestation, chemical pesticides, and rampant conversion of the natural landscape into residential and agricultural use is evidence of a serious environmental problem.

You can help restore the balance by protecting the birds in your yard and community. Here are a few simple things you can do today.
Choose outdoor decorations that are safe and welcoming.
Avoid materials that could entangle them — such as blankets of artificial snow, netting or wires attached to trees.
Use caution with synthetic materials that mimic berries, fruits, pine cones and nuts, which birds may be attracted to and ingest. Keep these fake foods away from outdoor trees and open areas where birds are likely to forage.
Decorate with things that wild birds will love! Providing attractive and festive edibles will help them survive and thrive through a season where their favorite foods — insects, fruits and native seeds are scarce.

Use real pine cones, fresh fruits, bird seed ornaments, or strings of air-popped popcorn or in-shell peanuts. Incorporate sprigs of native hollies, with their beautiful berries that birds relish, such as American Evergreen Holly (Ilex opaca) or Winterberry (Ilex verticillata). Here are some more ideas.

NOTE: Avoid using fresh mistletoe outdoors where birds can get to it. Birds savor their berries, and then disperse the seeds of this parasitic plant which can have a detrimental effect on its tree and shrub hosts.
Protect Birds from Window Crashes
About a billion birds die from glass collisions each year. You can reduce this threat by fragmenting reflective surfaces with multiple window decals such as those found at, which reflects ultraviolet sunlight and glows like a stoplight for birds.

If window collisions continue to occur, consider installing special window netting, films, or ribbons. Learn how to assess your home and make it bird-safe.
Birds of Madison and Beyond
Wondrous Woodpeckers

Thsere are seven woodpecker species that nest in New Jersey, and several of them can regularly be seen right here in Madison. Commonly sighted at birdfeeders are the diminutive Downy Woodpecker, and the medium-sized Red-bellied Woodpecker. Watch the video above for 10 fun facts about Downy Woodpeckers, including how to distinguish it from the similar-looking Hairy Woodpecker.
What's That Bird?

You can identify and learn more about the different birds you see with the free Merlin app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Watch the short video above to see how this fun and easy-to-use app works.

Learn more about local birds!
Hosted by New Jersey Audubon
Saturday, Dec. 12, 8:3011:00 AM
Location: West Caldwell
Be on the lookout for wintering Sharp-shinned Hawks, Long-eared Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls!
$10 for members, $15 non-members

Hosted by New Jersey Audubon
Thursday, Dec. 31, 8:3011:00 AM
Location: North Caldwell
Take a winter hike through meadows and woods while looking for winter wildlife, with a focus on grassland and forest birds.
$10 for members, $15 non-members
Action Alert:
Comment on NJ Forest Action Plan by December 11
Public comment on the New Jersey State Forest Action Plan is open until Friday, December 11.

Please tell the NJ Forest Service to produce a Forest Action Plan that protects and enhances our forested lands, and the wildlife that live within them. Ask them to preserve intact forests and mature trees so that we can increase biodiversity and maximize our forests' ability to store carbon. The decisions we make now will determine how we cope with climate change over the next 10 years, and long into the future of New Jersey.

Read here to understand New Jersey Highlands Coalition's concerns with the current Plan, get a link to the comments form, and find some simple talking points you can use to form your own comments.
Tell a Friend!
Do you have a friend or neighbor who'd be interested in receiving Madison Environmental Commission's newsletter?

If so, please forward this email and let them know they can sign up here to receive future issues.
Follow us on social media for environmentally-friendly tips, events & more!