National Bird Day: January 5 and 12 Fun Ways to Celebrate

Written by Jennifer Hollohan
Updated: September 10, 2023
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Birds capture the hearts of many people. From their unique and colorful feathers to their often captivating songs, it is hard not to love them. Additionally, they give us a sense of being tied to our past since they are the closest relatives to dinosaurs (still alive, anyway). These are some of the reasons why birds are one of the most common household pets.

We cannot get enough of them. However, even many bird owners are not aware of the plight that their feathered friends experience every year. So The Avian Welfare Coalition set out to change that. In 2002, it started celebrating National Bird Day every year on January 5. The National Bird Day goal is to raise awareness of deforestation, neglectful ownership, and commercial bird trade. 

That is helpful knowledge to have. But what are some ways to celebrate the day? That is what we are here to help with! Below we look at twelve fun ways to celebrate National Bird Day.

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1. Read an Audobon Book

No one can go wrong with the classic National Audobon Society Birds of North America book. This incredible resource is considered the authoritative guide to birding. It is comprehensive and regularly updated to provide birders with the best information.

The book presents an in-depth guide to approximately 800 species using 3,500 gorgeous color photographs and knowledge from a team of researchers. It is a truly indispensable resource for anyone interested in improving their birding experience. 

2. Feed Some Birds

Head out to your local open space or park to get quality one on one time with the resident birds. They will adore you forever if you feed them some good food. Feel free to toss them with seeds, halved grapes, or nuts.

But if you really want to go the extra mile, consider making a tasty treat to hang in a nearby tree. That way, the birds will have food for at least part of the future. Making pinecone bird feeders is simple and fun. 

Alternatively, go old school and construct a milk carton bird feeder. It is sure to be a hit with our feathered friends!

racing pigeon

Feeding pigeons is a common activity in many larger cities. But other birds would also enjoy a treat of seeds or nuts.

© Cornelissen

3. Build a Birdhouse

One of the reasons we celebrate National Bird Day is to bring awareness to all the threats birds around the world face. One of those is habitat loss due to deforestation. And no, you cannot singlehandedly make up for that loss. However, you can make a slight difference in some birds’ lives. Build a birdhouse (or many) to hang in your yard, giving local birds a comfortable and safe spot. 

4. Add a Bird Bath

Birds need access to water, just like the rest of us. So why not help them out a bit? National Bird Day is the perfect time to install one or more birdbaths. 

5. Add Some Plants to the Yard

Anyone with space to spare or contemplating adding new plants to their garden or yard this year should consider this tribute to birds. Plant something that will offer local bird species a comfortable, safe habitat. Some great ideas include shrubs like elderberry and buttonbush or trees like dogwood and oak. 

If there isn’t quite enough space for those species, consider planting flowers instead. Options like purple coneflowers and sunflowers help to provide sustainable food for our flying friends. 

dogwood tree blooming

Dogwood trees offer an ideal home for many bird species.


6. Adopt a Bird

When we want to bring home a new pet, it is super easy to swing by a pet store or pick up the phone and call a local breeder. But consider helping one of the many rescue birds that now need a loving home. Perhaps National Bird Day is the perfect time to adopt your next bird

Carolina parakeet

Consider adopting a bird like the Carolina


. Parakeets are among the most vocal birds in the parrot family.

©Wirestock Creators/

7. Tap Into Your Artsy Side

Draw a beautiful picture of your favorite bird! But if you are not the best artist, don’t worry. Some fantastic tutorials on Google and YouTube will walk you step-by-step through the process. Before you know it, a completed (and stunning) replica of your favorite bluejay will be completed!

8. Go Bird Watching

It turns out that bird watching is one of the preferred American pastimes. And that is completely understandable. Spotting a new, unique bird species and then trying to identify it is more thrilling than we may want to admit. But bird watching also offers another benefit. Sitting still to observe the beautiful feathers of your newest favorite bird is also a chance to truly connect with nature. So, snag that dusty pair of binoculars, or buy some if needed, and go enjoy everything nature has to offer. 

western bluebird

When you go bird watching, there is a chance to see magnificent species like the Western bluebird.

©Hayley Crews/

9. Start Studying

Pick up a book like Sibley Guide to Birds to start brushing up on your birding skills. You may find yourself addicted to bird-watching before you know it. 

Here are some other ideas to help you improve your bird knowledge.

  • Learn all about your state bird. Bonus points if you share your newfound knowledge with your loved ones over the dinner table!
  • Seek out some bird trivia games. Even reading them yourself if you don’t have someone to compete with will help deepen your knowledge.
  • Play Bird Bingo with friends or family members. You may be surprised at how much fun this game is. 

10. Donate to a Sanctuary or Conservation Program

Birds need our help, and more than most people realize. There are plenty of wonderful organizations that strive to protect and shelter birds. Consider honoring National Bird Day with a donation of time or money to a bird sanctuary, bird rescue program, or conservation group. 

11. Turn on a Movie

Popping in a movie is an unexpected option. But it is a great way to introduce the beauty and magnificence of birds to younger nature lovers. Kids love bright, colorful, cheery movies. And bird movies offer just that. Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Rio are two great kid-friendly options. 

12. Learn Some Fun Bird Facts

There is one final way to honor National Bird Day. And that is to learn some fun and interesting facts about birds! Here are a few to kick off the learning journey:

  • Estimated 10,000 species
  • The smallest is 2 ¼ inches
  • 20% of all bird species migrate annually
  • Birds do not have any teeth
  • Bird groups are known as flocks
  • All the chirping and singing you hear is a form of communication between birds
  • The closest living relative to the mighty T-Rex might come as a surprise. It’s chickens!
  • Hummingbird eggs are the size of a pea
  • Kiwi birds can’t see, so they have a heightened sense of smell
  • Ostriches‘ eyes are larger than those of any land mammal
  • Some ducks sleep with one eye open
  • Penguin’s black and white coats help them remain camouflaged in certain environments
  • Birds are the only feathered animals
  • The closest living relatives of birds are crocodiles
  • The wandering albatross can sleep flying
  • The peregrine falcon is the fastest bird in the world – clocking in at top speeds of 185 miles per hour!
Hummingbird visits scarlet bee balm

Hummingbirds love delicate, nectar-rich flowers. These tiny creatures bring joy everywhere they flit.

©Chris Alcock/

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Mark Richard Waller/

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About the Author

Jennifer Hollohan is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on gardening, mammals, and travel. Jennifer has over twenty years of writing experience. She holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, which she earned in 2005, and is a Herbalist. Jennifer lives in Colorado with her family. She loves hiking, admiring wildflowers, gardening, and making herbal tea.

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