The other day, I watched a documentary by New Hampshire Public Television on bird migration. I learned a few startling facts about habitat loss and other pressures that decimate bird populations. Most alarming of all was that their mortality while migrating is as high as 85%. I doubt that is due to hurricanes and low seasonal food, though these are real risks that birds have always faced. I’m sure that most are due to human activity:
- Building and tower lights on at night throwing birds off course, exhausting and killing them. Birds migrate at night, and the light of the moon used to guide them. Now, our overlit cities and buildings misguide them.
- Critical habitat loss on migration routes. Birds need to land and feed and stay according to the season and weather, before proceeding north (or south) again.
- Bird strikes on power and cellular telephone infrastructure – wires and towers, and not just those of wind turbines.
- Bird strikes on buildings, now more than ever – read Glass architecture is killing millions of migratory birds.
- And the grand winner: Our pet and feral cats are the biggest killers by far. Do not underestimate the carnage that any sweet kitty causes. It’s not good fun. If you absolutely insist – you’re wrong, but still – on putting your cat outdoors, do it only at night, when birds are in flight. During the day they need to come down and search for food, water, and rest. They need it. The cat’s just playing. (So put a BirdBeSafe clown collar on kitty!)
In every city, Continue reading