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9 Human Activities That Threaten Birds

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9 Human Activities That Threaten Birds

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

1. Windows:

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.

2. Cars:

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.”

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Samantha, selected from Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.


+ add your own
11:47AM PDT on Sep 27, 2011


9:54PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

Good post, Thanks. I try to do my part. I seek organic ways to control the pests in my yard. During this draught here in Texas every thing has just been baked by the sun. Nothing has grown and seeded so the birds have food. I have added feeders and kept them filled, and the birds have kept them emptied. I also have thrown a wild bird mixture out on the ground every 2 days for the larger wild wild birds, and went to my local Tractor Supply and bought a couple of those automatic waterers and put them in my yard as all the streams and ponds have dried up and there is no water supply for them. The squirrels have also taken advantage of the waterers and I am sharing my last years pecan supply with them, as there are none this year, my trees have shed all the pecans in the little green pod stage. I also have a butterfly garden that I put a soaker hose through as those do a wonderful job of watering with minimal water, as they seep slowly and soak the ground.

8:51AM PDT on Sep 17, 2011


4:44PM PDT on Sep 11, 2011


6:30AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Very glad that there is more awareness in regards to wildlife. The more it is stressed and shared, the more we can fix things. Such as the towers and windows, very urgent and very clear, lights out during migratory seasons. Then, we can educate a new generation to build sustainably to co-habitate with wildlife and not to oust them. Very sad about the pidgeons. Men or people with guns as sports is a mindless activity and better to direct energies towards a wholistic lifestyle. People will need to re-think about their activities and to make conscious decisions. What selfish acts! Golf courses were not mentioned with regards to pesticides. Keep up the news. Pass it on and on.

9:04AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

"Do not Corrupt the earth..." (Quran 7:56)

7:33PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Thanks. Our property is very Nature-friendly, especially for birds.

8:02AM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

Although there are some changes that are huge and need to be made on a wide-scale, we can do our part with the small changes! I will do so!

5:33PM PDT on Sep 1, 2011

So sad what happens

1:24PM PDT on Sep 1, 2011


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