CARMEL, Ind.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This year marks the 37th anniversary of Earth Day, a global event that encourages people to conserve resources and preserve natural habitats. Though people around the world will partake in various festivals, community projects and other environmentally-friendly ventures, you could choose to stay close to home and create a habitat for birds and other wildlife in your backyard.
The average backyard may be visited by 15 to 20 different bird species. However, a bird-friendly yard can attract 60 or more different species. To attract the greatest number of bird species, a habitat must provide at least one of each of these elements: food, water, shelter and a place to raise their young.
"It's the perfect time to attract birds," said John Schaust, chief naturalist at Wild Birds Unlimited. "Many birds have returned from their fall and winter homes, and they're looking for places to feed, court and nest. It's an opportunity to see a lot of interesting and colorful birds."
Offering food can be as simple as hanging a birdfeeder in a tree or as ambitious as planting native fruit bearing bushes or shrubs. Providing a fresh supply of water with a birdbath will also increase the variety of bird visitors. Birds use water for more than just drinking; they also use it for bathing and preening their feathers. Clean feathers are important for birds' health and optimum flying ability.
Landscaping for the ideal wildlife habitat should include plants ranging in size and density from small evergreen shrubs to tall, full-grown trees. The same plants that provide food and shelter can also provide safe areas for many species of wildlife to build nests and raise their families.
To help people learn more about creating a bird-friendly habitat in their backyard, each Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop will give a free Hobby Guide to each family that visits on Earth Day. This 48 page guide is loaded with information that can help people create a refuge in their own backyard.
Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard birdfeeding and nature specialty stores with more than 300 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with their birdfeeding and nature products, their expert advice and educational events. Visit their Web site, shop online and learn about franchising opportunities at www.wbu.com.