Threats to Birds

Each day, birds face many threats – many of them lethal and most of them caused or worsened by human actions. If we are going to invite birds into our community, we need to be sure to provide a safe environment where they can thrive! 

The climate crisis is the greatest threat that birds face! How much that threat worsens over time is wholly dependent on human actions right now. To learn more about this threat to birds and ways to be part of the solution, read the National Audubon Society’s study results “Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink” at

Another huge threat to our birds is the destruction and fragmentation of bird habitat that supports their food sources, breeding territories, nesting sites, and cover needed to hide from predators and protect them in extreme weather conditions. The more humans expand their territory, the more the territory decreases that birds and other wildlife need to survive. We can provide a healthy bird habitat in our yard, at our place of work or worship, at our local school or university, in local and state parks and greenways, and in as many places as we can. To learn more, visit Habitat Certification Program and Using Native Plants.

Lights glowing into the night sky pose a particular threat to migrating birds, often resulting in injury and/or death to thousands of migrating birds. To learn more about this lethal phenomenon, visit Lights Out.

Reflective glass on buildings during the daytime is also a key threat to bird safety. Anywhere from a single window pane to a wall of windows on a skyscraper can capture and reflect the image of the open sky or nearby vegetation back to the eye of the bird, making that pane or wall of glass look like a safe space to fly rather than the lethal hard object it will be upon impact. There are many products that can mitigate this often-lethal reflection that can be added to windows already in place or that are available for installation on buildings being refurbished or newly built. To learn more, visit

Contaminants and waste on land and in the water, such as chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, plastics, and other pollutants, threaten birds and other wildlife, as well as humans. Participate in local cleanup efforts, decrease your personal use of lawn pesticides and herbicides, as well as recycle plastics whenever possible and decrease your use of single-use plastics.     

And last, but certainly not least, nonnative predators such as feral cats or pet cats allowed to roam outside decimate local bird populations. The American Bird Conservancy estimates that outdoor cats kill 2.4 billion birds EACH YEAR in the U.S. Be sure to be a responsible pet owner and keep your cats inside.

Go to our Advocacy page to learn more about what YOU can do to help reduce these threats to birds!