By Mickey Z., Planet Green
All species – flora or fauna – live in a delicate balance within our eco-system. This balance is often upset by the activities of one particular breed of earthling: humans. Birds – large and small – often pay the price for human progress. Sometimes, the cause and effect is obvious, e.g. hunting the passenger pigeon to extinction. Once the most abundant bird on Earth, there were many billions of passenger pigeons in America when the “settlers” arrived. Now there are none.
Other man made threats to birds aren’t so apparent. For example, the seemingly simple choices of erecting a building or choosing to have a feline companion can impact heavily on the planet’s bird population.
Fortunately, such choices can be amended, adapted, or reversed through simple steps. Such changes are very possible, absolutely necessary, and would surely be appreciated by the birds.
9 Human Activities that Threaten Our Feathered Friends
Not the software kind of windows but rather those of the plate glass variety in tall buildings all across Mother Earth. As many as 80 million birds are killed each year by collisions with such reflective windows. At home, it’s suggested you keep your curtains closed and perhaps even hang a protective net. For the more dangerous larger buildings, one approach is to minimize or extinguish night lighting during migration periods.
Some 60 to 80 million birds are killed each year by motor vehicles. This averages out to roughly 15 bird deaths per mile driven per year. Obviously, the automobile culture is a major issue that would require a massive overhaul to protect not only birds but the entire eco-system. For starters, some basic steps are available to all of us, including: carpooling, public transportation, and best of all, bicycles.
3. Domestic Cats:
Feline companions allowed to roam free kill about 4 million birds every single day in North America alone. Worldwide, the yearly number of birds killed by domestic cats is in the billions. Solution: Keep your kitties inside.
4. Communication Towers:
There are 77,000 radio-transmission towers higher than 199 feet in the U.S. and nearly 200 million birds collide fatally with these towers per year. Add in 175,000 cell phone towers and the number of dead birds approaches a half-billion annually. Since so many birds migrate at night, lighted towers can throw off their 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 mortalities can be avoided through doable 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.”