The (Unintentional) Things We Do That Harm Birds

We’re Killing Birds in Huge Numbers – Every Day. It’s All About Awareness

 

When you put all these things together, it’s actually quite frightening what we do in our daily lives, that has a massive impact on birds.

There are only some things that we, as individuals, can do to try to solve the problems, but awareness is a great first step.

Here are just some of the things we do to harm them.

 

We Kill Birds with Buildings

Tall buildings the world over contain huge amounts of glass, which kill around 80 million birds each year by collisions with windows.  At home, curtains can help, and some people even hang a protective net.  For larger buildings, one approach is to minimize or extinguish night lighting during migration periods.

Kill Birds with Cars

Some 60 to 80 million birds are killed each year by motor vehicles.   We can’t all give up cars, but those of us who use carpooling, public transportation, and bicycles are helping the environment as well as our feathered friends.

Cell phone towerKill Birds with Communication Towers

Nearly half a billion birds collide fatally with towers every year.   Apparently, when they migrate at night, lighted towers can throw off their nocturnal navigation systems. They become reluctant to leave the lighted area and, as a result, collide with wires, the tower itself, or with each other.

According to the Bedford Audobon Society, up to 90 percent of such fatalities can be avoided through steps like “avoiding the use of guy wires, carefully considering the location of towers with regard to migratory flyways and other bird concentration areas, and keeping as many towers as possible unlit.”

They don’t want to stop the growth of towers or make them unsafe, they simply advise on small changes which can make a difference.

Kill Birds for Eating (or Wasting)

Every day, 23 million chickens are killed – just in the US – for food. That’s 269 dead chickens per second.   Just in the US.  We need to eat, but we also should make sure those we kill for food, are used for food and not wasted (see  food waste and what you can do to avoid it).

Kill Birds with Habitat Fragmentation

Grassland and wetland birds have seen their habitats destroyed the world over.  “Remaining patches of grasslands and wetlands may be too small, too isolated, and too influenced by edge effects to maintain viable populations of some breeding birds” say the US Geological Survey.

As individuals, we can’t do much to stop the relentless quest for resources, but we can reduce our own demand, and also push for increased preserves and sanctuaries.  In addition, you can plant native vegetation on your own property if you have gardens, and if you have existing wetland and salt marsh vegetation on your property, preserve it.

Kill Birds with Environmental Toxins

Today, we have so many pesticides, toxic chemicals and heavy metals (e.g. lead and mercury) that we’re either killing fowl in large numbers or reducing their breeding success.   We can help by reducing our own use of toxic chemicals in our homes and workplaces (we’ll benefit too), and continue to put pressure on larger organisations to be more considerate of the environment we all live in together.

Domestic Cats kill birdsKill Birds with Domestic Cats

About 4 million birds are killed by cats every single day in North America alone. Worldwide, the yearly number killed by domestic cats is in the billions.  Keeping your cats indoors will help to save a lot of lives.

So……

Adding these figures together results in a horrifying number of birds that we’re killing.   We may not be able to solve all of the problems, but as individuals, increased awareness and hopefully some small changes can help.

Please Share this post to spread the word about what we’re doing to birds – and how we can help. Sharing buttons below and right. Thank you!

Warm regards,

signature Clare

 

17 comments… add one

Your thoughts and opinions are important to me! Do tell me in the comments below!

  • Michael D Walker 21st September 2011, 1:42 AM

    Wow! That’s a staggering number of cats killing birds. How do they even accurately track that? Like others have posted, I always have had indoor cats and never had one bring home a bird when they snuck outside. But this does raise awareness of how we affect the environment, including other forms of life.

    Interesting reading!

    Michael

    Reply
  • Rob N 18th September 2011, 1:22 PM

    Good thing birds are able to reproduce or there might be an even bigger problem.

    Rob

    Reply
    • Will 18th September 2011, 4:12 PM

      Rob N – not sure where that kind of comment is going. Are you saying that it actually does not matter that so many birds are killed in so many different ways because they will simply reproduce the same numbers all over again? If so then I think you are sadly mistaken – that kind of thinking leads to the demise of the species.

      Reply
  • Dennis Perry 18th September 2011, 8:12 AM

    Clare,
    The numbers you reveal are staggering and rather disturbing. I am not sure how some of the issues listed can be corrected but it certainly seems we can and should all try our best to minimize our impact on our fellow travellers.

    Dennis

    Reply
  • Neil Dhawan 18th September 2011, 4:59 AM

    WOW!!! Those are some astronomical numbers that, until you pointed them out, weren’t even a small part of my awareness. Sadly, I can attest two being part of at least 1 killing a year and a few injuries – well, not me personally, but the office windows are tinted and, at least a few times a year a bird flies into them … and it’s a one-story building.

    Stay Extraordinary, Neil

    Reply
  • Dating Expert LA Singles 18th September 2011, 4:27 AM

    Hi Green Goddess,

    excellent reminder about how our environment hurts the wildlife including birds around us.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

    Reply
  • Eva Palmer 18th September 2011, 1:42 AM

    Those numbers, all of them, are scary…I had no idea that we were impacting so bad in the life of millions of birds…

    Reply
  • Kevin Hogan 18th September 2011, 1:30 AM

    Clare, I would never have guessed that cats kill 4 million birds every day… that’s a huge number, at least for me. I’ve had cats most of my life (always indoor cats), and they have never brought home a bird once.

    Here at home we have plenty of bird nests (Barn Swallows I think the birds are called.) and we always enjoy watching them. These numbers are kind of mind boggling, and are good numbers to know, so we can hopefully lower them drastically at some point soon.

    ~Mark Hogan

    Reply
  • Annie Born 18th September 2011, 12:41 AM

    Thank you so much for this post and the connection to reality!

    I have planted a line of native trees to help give a hedge for birds.

    They are so precious! It’s important we do our part to help!

    Reply
  • Mil 17th September 2011, 10:39 PM

    I once brought a robin that had been mauled by a friend’s cat to a wildlife preservation organization hoping to save it. When I got there, they told me that 67% of the birds that come in were hurt by cats. They gave me a case file number and told me to call the next day to find out the condition of the bird. Unfortunately, the bird died by the time I called.

    It’s somewhat similar to the situation with the bees, I think.

    Reply
  • Kevin Bettencourt 17th September 2011, 8:48 PM

    As you say, awareness is the first step. Also as Scott points out, cars, cell phone towers, chemicals and pesticides merely scratch the surface about killing birds. I read an article that seemed like a end of the world thing. Light pollution has changed many species migration patterns and they find themselves in the wrong part of the world at the wrong time.

    Reply
  • Rob Malone 17th September 2011, 8:07 PM

    Oh my gosh!!! 23 million chickens a day in the US only – that is completely mind boggling. Not to mention the 100 million plus birds killed by buidling, cars, towers, etc. It is just hard to imagine that many birds evern exist let alone being killed.

    Reply
  • Sonya Lenzo 17th September 2011, 5:54 PM

    My cat stays inside. I don’t have a car. I am in the process of going vegan….I hope I am doing my part!!!!!
    Sonya Lenzo

    Reply
  • The Knowledge Stylist 17th September 2011, 4:46 PM

    Very interesting; I did not know all of this about birds. Thanks for the fascinating article.

    TKS

    Reply
  • What is body language 17th September 2011, 12:46 PM

    Clare I think the one item you may have missed would be garbage or junk like the plastic holders for soda cans.
    Scott Sylvan Bell

    Reply
  • Cherie Miranda 17th September 2011, 10:00 AM

    Clare,

    Thanks for writing about this. I especially appreciate the mention of cats and birds. Though I don’t currently have a feline companion, I’ve had cats most of my life. In fact, they were quite frustrated with me as a child when I’d always free the birds they so proudly brought home (always alive). As an adult, I’ve always kept my cats indoors for this and other reasons.

    I love your site! Keep up the good work.

    Cherie Miranda

    Reply
  • […] See what we do – and how we can avoid the harm.  […]

  • Michael D Walker says:

    Wow! That’s a staggering number of cats killing birds. How do they even accurately track that? Like others have posted, I always have had indoor cats and never had one bring home a bird when they snuck outside. But this does raise awareness of how we affect the environment, including other forms of life.

    Interesting reading!

    Michael

  • Rob N says:

    Good thing birds are able to reproduce or there might be an even bigger problem.

    Rob

    • Will says:

      Rob N – not sure where that kind of comment is going. Are you saying that it actually does not matter that so many birds are killed in so many different ways because they will simply reproduce the same numbers all over again? If so then I think you are sadly mistaken – that kind of thinking leads to the demise of the species.

  • Dennis Perry says:

    Clare,
    The numbers you reveal are staggering and rather disturbing. I am not sure how some of the issues listed can be corrected but it certainly seems we can and should all try our best to minimize our impact on our fellow travellers.

    Dennis

  • Neil Dhawan says:

    WOW!!! Those are some astronomical numbers that, until you pointed them out, weren’t even a small part of my awareness. Sadly, I can attest two being part of at least 1 killing a year and a few injuries – well, not me personally, but the office windows are tinted and, at least a few times a year a bird flies into them … and it’s a one-story building.

    Stay Extraordinary, Neil

  • Dating Expert LA Singles says:

    Hi Green Goddess,

    excellent reminder about how our environment hurts the wildlife including birds around us.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

  • Eva Palmer says:

    Those numbers, all of them, are scary…I had no idea that we were impacting so bad in the life of millions of birds…

  • Kevin Hogan says:

    Clare, I would never have guessed that cats kill 4 million birds every day… that’s a huge number, at least for me. I’ve had cats most of my life (always indoor cats), and they have never brought home a bird once.

    Here at home we have plenty of bird nests (Barn Swallows I think the birds are called.) and we always enjoy watching them. These numbers are kind of mind boggling, and are good numbers to know, so we can hopefully lower them drastically at some point soon.

    ~Mark Hogan

  • Annie Born says:

    Thank you so much for this post and the connection to reality!

    I have planted a line of native trees to help give a hedge for birds.

    They are so precious! It’s important we do our part to help!

  • Mil says:

    I once brought a robin that had been mauled by a friend’s cat to a wildlife preservation organization hoping to save it. When I got there, they told me that 67% of the birds that come in were hurt by cats. They gave me a case file number and told me to call the next day to find out the condition of the bird. Unfortunately, the bird died by the time I called.

    It’s somewhat similar to the situation with the bees, I think.

  • Kevin Bettencourt says:

    As you say, awareness is the first step. Also as Scott points out, cars, cell phone towers, chemicals and pesticides merely scratch the surface about killing birds. I read an article that seemed like a end of the world thing. Light pollution has changed many species migration patterns and they find themselves in the wrong part of the world at the wrong time.

  • Rob Malone says:

    Oh my gosh!!! 23 million chickens a day in the US only – that is completely mind boggling. Not to mention the 100 million plus birds killed by buidling, cars, towers, etc. It is just hard to imagine that many birds evern exist let alone being killed.

  • Sonya Lenzo says:

    My cat stays inside. I don’t have a car. I am in the process of going vegan….I hope I am doing my part!!!!!
    Sonya Lenzo

  • The Knowledge Stylist says:

    Very interesting; I did not know all of this about birds. Thanks for the fascinating article.

    TKS

  • What is body language says:

    Clare I think the one item you may have missed would be garbage or junk like the plastic holders for soda cans.
    Scott Sylvan Bell

  • Cherie Miranda says:

    Clare,

    Thanks for writing about this. I especially appreciate the mention of cats and birds. Though I don’t currently have a feline companion, I’ve had cats most of my life. In fact, they were quite frustrated with me as a child when I’d always free the birds they so proudly brought home (always alive). As an adult, I’ve always kept my cats indoors for this and other reasons.

    I love your site! Keep up the good work.

    Cherie Miranda