75. Practice low-impact hiking.

Katie and Michael

Hiking is probably the lowest-impact use of public land. Hiking on trails is rarely harmful (staying on trails is very important, especially during the breeding season), and hikers can actively help birds in several ways. Always carry plastic bags in your backpack or pocket. If you’re hiking with a dog (which should never be allowed to run loose through woodland or grassland habitat during nesting season), clean up after it. Bags are also useful when you pull up purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, and other invasive exotic weeds. Tightly bagging them prevents seeds from being released. Picking up trash, especially items that are likely to hurt wildlife, is something that conscientious hikers do without even thinking. Monofilament line, fishing tackle, balloons, used condoms, six-pack rings, cans, and pop-top rings are probably the most dangerous trash items commonly found. Thin plastic bags are perfect for picking up even the most distasteful items—just put your hand inside the bag, pick up the item, and hold it as you turn the bag inside out.

Hiking with Muxy and Pip

From 101 Ways to Help Birds, published by Stackpole in 2006. Please consider buying the book to show that there is a market for bird conservation books. (Photos, links, and updated information at the end of some entries are not from the book.)