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Resolution Schmesolution

Start 2020 with monthly bird-friendly goals for a vision of a new decade

The inevitable question — “What’s your New Year’s resolution?”

We all know that New Year’s resolutions are frail, fickle, and never followed through. Either you roll with it and pretend you’ll change something, or you are honest with yourself and say, “I’m not making any resolutions this year.”

But let’s consider a third option. Let the birds keep you accountable. Below are twelve New Year’s Resolutions for birds, one for every month. Choose your favorite or choose them all!

January: Ditch plastics.

Make a commitment to minimizing single-use plastics. Water bottles, straws, and plastic bags are easy things to cut out of your life and will greatly decrease your personal plastic waste. Additionally, if there isn't already a plastic bag ordinance in your area, ask your local lawmakers to make it happen. Sea turtles and beach-nesting birds will soon arrive to lay their eggs, and single-use plastics can be harmful if not deadly! Check out tips on how to communicate with elected officials at the bottom of this page.

February: Declare your love for birds.

Not in a creepy way though. Show your love for your favorite bird on Valentine’s Day by writing an open letter on social media and tagging Audubon South Carolina (@scaudubon). For example: “Dear Brown-headed Nuthatch, your sweet squeaks make me smile every day! Love, Mary”

March: Get to know your state reps.

Audubon South Carolina is working on several important issues in the state legislature this year, following 2019’s passing of the SC Energy Freedom Act. Join Audubon South Carolina in Columbia for Lobby Day as we march on to the statehouse together with the Conservation Coalition on March 18. Can't make it? Urge your public officials to do the right thing for birds by heading to our Speak Up for Birds page.

April: Find a native plant nursery near you.

March is the perfect time to find bird-friendly plants for your garden. Some native plants are starting to bloom! To help get you started, here are some of our favorite local native nurseries. If you’re not yet sold on buying native plants, learn why native plants are better for birds.

May: Kick-off beach season!

Encourage your friends to Let ‘em Rest and Let ‘em Nest. Tell your beach-going friends that disturbing beach-nesting birds like Brown Pelicans or American Oystercatchers is not cool! We can all share the beach this summer, helping declining species like the Wilson’s Plover and Least Tern that need a comeback. Email me to learn more or how to be a Shorebird Steward at nolan.schillerstrom@audubon.org.

June: Keep cool by visiting one of Audubon South Carolina’s wildlife sanctuaries.

Get a break from the heat under the trees! And really, it’s just cool to see all the amazing wildlife that thrive in our Francis Beidler Forest and at Silver Bluff Sanctuary. This is one of the best times of the year to visit.

July: Get outside more.

Look up, look down, look all around. You’ll be surprised how much you can see by just keeping your eyes open. This time of year, nesting birds are still very active, and chicks are starting to emerge and explore the world. Spot some cute little fluff-ball babies on a self-guided tour, or join us for bird walks and other events around the state. You don't have to be in a nature center to truly be outside. South Carolina is rich in wild places. If you're having trouble figuring out where to start, try exploring your own backyard. 

August: Identify a shorebird.

Don't worry, shorebirds are tough to ID but we are here to help. Come on a shorebird survey with us or make time to go to the beach on your own. Late summer is a great time to observe migratory shorebirds like the exotic-sounding Whimbrel, Semipalmated Plover, and Short-billed Dowitcher, as well as the threatened and endangered Piping Plover and Red Knot.

September: Lights out for migration.

Save birds and energy this migration season by participating in Lights Out for Migration! Exterior lighting on homes and buildings can disorient birds during their nighttime migration. Simply turn out the lights, and ask buildings in your community as well, and you'll be providing safe passage for millions of birds that fill the air during Fall nights.

October: Leave the leaves.

We know you don’t really want to rake the leaves in your yard, so just leave them be. They’re great for birds and other critters! While you’re at it, now’s the time to consider other ways to make your yard bird-friendly. 

November: Be a community scientist.

Need an excuse to spend more time on the water? Do you have access to a boat? Help Audubon South Carolina monitor wintering American Oystercatchers by re-sighting banded birds from the water. Email me if you’re interested at nolan.schillerstrom@audubon.org

December: Join a Christmas Bird Count!

There’s literally no better way to get started birding. It’s the longest-running wildlife census in North America and it's a ton of fun. It runs across the state of South Carolina every year from December 14th through January 5th. Check here to find an event near you. If you can’t participate, give the gift of food and shelter to birds by putting up a bird feeder or nest box! Bluebirds start scouting for boxes as early as February. 

Congrats! You made it to the BONUS RESOLUTION:

Donate to Audubon South Carolina so we can keep helping you make a difference for birds!