Are you concerned about news of bird die-offs, and even extinctions? Turn off the lights! That’s one of two simple things you can do, according to experts at the Minnesota Audubon Society.
You may have noticed a few more birds at the backyard feeder or in our neighborhood’s parks lately. That’s because birds are on the move! Over 250 species of birds – including warblers, thrushes and even hummingbirds – migrate through Minnesota each fall, from mid-August through October. They’re heading south for the winter, out of the hazards posed by ice and snow.
But our well-lit homes (and especially our large, lighted apartment and office buildings) pose a different sort of danger to migrating birds. Most birds fly south at night, miraculously getting their bearings by navigating with the night sky. Night migrants can become disoriented when they pass over cities. Bright artificial lights and the accumulated glow of city streets pull them in. Some birds are killed or injured in collisions with buildings. Others will circle lighted buildings endlessly, exhausting themselves.
Reflective windows kill birds in daytime
Have you ever heard a thump on a window during the day and found a dead bird below it? Glass windows pose an additional danger to migrating birds, even during daylight hours. When the sun is out, birds crash into windows because they can’t distinguish reflections on glass from a space they can fly through. People ‘see’ glass because we have learned that it is a hard surface. But birds need lots of information on or around glass to show them that it’s there, as the Audubon Society explains. “Shiny glass exteriors, internal plants near windows, glass corners, and greenery close to buildings can all be deadly.”
What can you do? First, focus on the windows that have caused bird-collisions. Install “bird-friendly” solutions, like decals, shades, exterior screens, or even paint, that make windows less reflective. Check out the American Bird Conservancy website for product options. (Search their Glass Collisions Products and Solutions database for ratings of some popular choices, like bird silhouette decals.)
Frogtown Green is a volunteer-powered initiative to build green and natural beauty in the Frogtown neighborhood. We plant trees, cultivate gardens and work toward a healthier environment. The St Paul Audubon Society supported the construction of tower for migrating chimney swifts at Frogtown Green’s Lily Pad. If you’d like to know more, our website is frogtowngreen.com and our phone is 651-757-5970.
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