Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Have You Killed a Bird Today?

Can I fly through your diningroom?


We cringe at that sound, which we occasionally hear at Meadow Glenn. We know exactly what it means: a bird has crashed into one of our windows.

I rush to add that we usually—but not always—discover that the bird is momentarily stunned but in a few minutes regains its senses and flies away. Years of observation have taught us that the most frequent causes of the crashes is that birds at our feeders have been panicked by an approaching hawk.

We might take a simplistic approach and try to figure out “the one cause” of such an accident. I might blame the hawk because if there were no hawk, there wouldn’t have been a panicked flight into the window pane. The victim might blame the house—or the bird feeder. If there were no house, there would be no window to crash into. And if there were no feeder, the victim wouldn’t have been near the window when the hawk came hunting.

The last two “causes,” of course, are related to human activity, which researchers have linked to billions of bird deaths each year in the United States. In his “Urban Jungle” column in the Washington Post, Patterson Clark recently listed six human-related categories and the number of bird deaths associated with each.

Here are the six categories in alphabetical order: Automobiles, Buildings, Cats, Communication Towers, Pesticides, and Power Lines.

How would you rank them?

I’ll make the quiz easier for you. Which one of the six do you think causes the most bird deaths per year?

You’ll find the answer in the bird mortality chart in the “Urban Jungle” column. CLICK HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Appreciated the post on Urban Jungle. It's not just the Urban Jungle. I live in the woods in the country and my house is cedar siding. However, I have lots of windows on the front and the birds see the sky and tree reflections in the windows. Most make it with only being stunned, but a few have lost their lives. Must get some decals for the windows. At the present I have scotch taped paper towels there...doesn't look too hot, but it works!!