10 Threats To Wild Birds

Birds face many threats in the wild from predators to environmental issues but there are a number of things you can do to ensure the safety of the birds that live near you.

Thrush Caught In Netting



Birds that are feeding at the side of the road can be hit by unaware drivers as can waterfowl parents when leading their chicks across roads to find ponds and rivers. Look out for signs notifying of birds and slow down to let them cross safely.


Fishing Line

Birds are unable to see discarded fishing line and can become trapped in it particularly if it has got tangled in trees or bushes. Birds will struggle to get out and the line can cause lacerations or even amputation and strangulation. Dispose any used fishing line and pick up any you see left by the side of rivers or ponds.



Although large scale oil spills are an obvious threat even small drops of oil such as those from leaking engines or petrol lawnmowers can harm birds. Oil that is poured down drains can make its way to water where birds live so make sure you dispose of oil carefully and keep vehicles maintained. Find out more about the effects of oil on birds.


Rat poison

Poison pellets left for rats, mice and other vermin can be a serious threat to ground feeding birds. Avoid using poison for pest control – try traps instead or call in professionals if you have a serious problem. Clean up discarded bird food to prevent rats coming into your garden.



Insecticides can poison birds and wipe out populations of insects that are essential food sources for birds. Buy fruit and vegetables that are pesticide free and use natural population management to control the insects in your garden by encouraging insect eating birds and other wild animals such as hedgehogs.


Outside lights

Lights left on at night can confuse migrating birds and cause window collisionsas they try and navigate towards the light. Turn outside lights off and draw the curtains if you have lights on inside the house. Ensure security lights are on a timer so they go off a short while after being activated.



Sports nets and netting used in the garden are all dangerous if birds get tangled in them. On the sports field use brightly coloured nets so birds can see them and not fly into them and take them down once you have finished playing. Try and avoid using nets in your garden but if you must choose nets made of natural material rather than nylon. Nets with fine mesh are the safest for birds.


Artificial turf

Artificial turf that is laid in parks and sports fields destroys habitats for birds particularly in urban areas where outside space is already decreasing. Encourage schools and local sports facilities to use natural turf wherever possible.



Although decking has become very popular in recent years due to its aesthetics and easy maintenance, it is contributing to the destruction of birds’ habitats. Try and keep space for a lawn in your garden and encourage birds and other wildlife by landscaping for birds.



Unfortunately many birds in the exotic pet trade are taken from their nests in the wild. Tropical birds such as parrots, finches and parakeets are under threat due to illegal poaching and they are often kept in harsh conditions while being transported to pet shops. Do not buy pet birds from any unauthorized dealer and report any suspicious activity to your local authority.

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