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For Immediate Release: 12/29/11

10th Anniversary of National Bird Day Is Jan. 5, 2012

Born Free USA’s 2012 National Bird Day to Focus on Exotic Bird Trade, Pet Birds and Protecting Wild Birds from Window Strikes

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, is the 10th anniversary of National Bird Day, a time when Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, shines a spotlight on issues critical to the protection and survival of birds.

Born Free USA’s annual National Bird Day campaign focuses on education and action to discourage pet bird sales; improve standards of care for birds who are already pets; stop the international trade in wild birds; and protect and appreciate birds in the wild in the United States.

According to Monica Engebretson, wildlife biologist and senior program associate for Born Free USA, "National Bird Day is about appreciating wild birds flying free outside our own windows and also focusing on birds native to other counties who are captured in the wild or bred in captivity, fueling the captive bird trade. Whether birds are wild-caught or bred in captivity, it is very difficult to meet their needs in a home environment as they are intelligent, highly social, flight-adapted animals.”

Born Free USA recommends that those seeking a companion animal choose truly domesticated animals such as dogs and cats. And for those who already have birds in their care, to look for ways to improve their welfare, such as providing proper toys, provide a varied diet, allow ample out-of-cage time, and pay plenty of focused attention. Tips to improve captive bird welfare are included on the National Bird Day website at NationalBirdDay.com.

National Bird Day 2012 also will focus on protecting our native U.S. birds in crisis. It is estimated that up to 1 billion birds are killed annually in North America from colliding with windows. Some die on impact while others may fly away to later die from internal injury. Born Free USA’s website NationalBirdDay.com offers advice on how to make windows safer for birds, along with other tips and information to help protect and actively celebrate National Bird Day.

Engebretson explains, “When birds see a window they see the reflection of trees or sky and think they can fly through. Putting a few stickers on the glass does not solve the problem — despite popular belief &mdash because birds perceive that they can fly between the stickers.”

Born Free USA offers these tips to prevent window collisions in time for National Bird Day:

  • Use taut exterior window "bug" screens and leave them up year-round. Screens break up the reflection and help cushion the blow and reduce injury if a bird hits the window.
  • Place vertical exterior tape strips on the glass no more than 10 centimeters apart. Or paint patterns outside of windows with soap or tempera paint.
  • Keep drapes and blinds closed whenever possible.
  • Position houseplants and flowers away from windows.
  • Strategically place bird feeders and baths to reduce collisions. Keep birdbaths and feeders closer than three feet from windows or more than 20 feet away. If birds are very close to the window, they will not build up sufficient speed for an injury if they fly at the window, and if they are much farther away they will be more likely to avoid the window.
  • Install frosted or etched windows with less reflective surface area. This can be done with new windows, while craft etching kits are available for existing windows.
  • Create movement that can help birds avoid windows. For example, hang ribbons or other material in strips no more than 5 centimeters apart on the outside of windows for the full width of the glass.
  • Use external sun shades or awnings to minimize reflection and transparency of windows.
  • If putting in new windows, angle the glass downward so it does not reflect the sky and trees.

For much more on birds, and National Bird Day activities, events, contests and information sheets, visit NationalBirdDay.com.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to the United States the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will Travers, now chief executive officer of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

More at www.bornfreeusa.org; on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, publicrelations@bornfreeusa.org, (203) 270-8929.

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