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.
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.
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.
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.
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