Did You Know Migrating Birds Need Your Help?
Millions of birds migrate every fall, with peak migration occurring between mid-September and mid-October. In fact, at any given time there may be tens of thousands of birds right overhead. Did you know that most birds migrate at night? You can check out this cool live time migration map, BirdCast, which allows you to explore nighttime migration data specific to your region.
Unfortunately, these migrating birds face many man-made obstacles on their migratory pathways. While we cannot remove many of these human developments, there are some major ways we can be proactive to help prevent bird deaths from these obstacles. One of the major steps you can take is to make your windows obvious. This is vital, as it is estimated that up to a billion birds die every year from colliding into windows. During the day, glass reflects the outdoors, causing confusion to birds. In the evening, birds are attracted to artificial lights, leading to impact. You can apply decals, films with dots on them, strips of translucent tape or UV stickers to your windows to protect birds from impact.
Additionally, lights cause birds to become disoriented, leading to them colliding into buildings and other man-made structures, as well as into one another. Another easy, yet highly effective way to help birds is to turn off your lights. Sadly, it’s thought that up to a million birds die each year from light pollution. It’s especially important to turn off any outdoor lights, as birds use the stars and moonlight to guide their way, and artificial lights cause confusion. If you need outdoor lighting, motion detectors are the way to go. Indoor lights are a hazard too, so do your best to limit or dim lights in the evenings. Darkening your windows can be a great preventative measure, as one study by Field Museum scientists, showed that darkening windows reduced bird mortalities by 60 percent. Be sure to turn off lights when you aren’t in a room and draw the curtains and close blinds when it is dark outside.
The good news is that these easy to take actions protect birds and other wildlife. In fact, embracing the darkness in the evening is good for us and our circadian rhythms too! Share this information with your friends and neighbors to help protect the birds and other species.
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