Most people have noticed a drop in song birds in their area, especially folks in the northern hemisphere who regularly put out winter feeders for the birds. Many people quickly turn to blame their neighbours cat for killing the birds, but in fact the majority of the avian population decline is due to human activity, not feline.
The Sky’s the Limit
Most large cities have work crews that pick up thousands of dead birds in their downtown cores before 5:00am during bird migration periods. What is happening is that the tall office towers are leaving their lights on over night. The migrating birds are confused by the lights, in a behavior that is not yet fully understood. It would appear they become disoriented by the lights, and smash into the glass, sending thousands plunging to their deaths below. If not killed by the impact, and only stunned, the fall surely kills them. In some larger cities each office building may have hundreds of dead birds at its base each night throughout the migration period. Most city dwellers are not even aware, as the dead birds are picked up early before dawn.
Wikimedia commons. Photo of deforestation in Guatemala.
Rain Forest Woes
Many birds have nesting grounds in the rain forest. As pressure for space, to raise cattle or other crops, increases, so too does deforestation. Millions of birds have lost their nesting grounds or their food supply, when they return to those nesting grounds, because of human activity in the area. Most rain forest beef is used to supply foreign markets, even chain restaurants, and fast food joints, in other countries. Some chains have discontinued using rain forest beef, but there is still a demand. Many other products come at the expense of the rain forest.
This is my own photo of a housing development where a pond used to be.
Bye, Bye, Pond
Urban sprawl and the demand for housing has meant the total removal of many natural nesting grounds for ducks, geese, and other shore birds. Ponds are drained or filled in to make way for housing. Even if the ponds are kept intact, their shores are “cleaned up” and built around to appease humans, and nesting grounds are no longer assured for the native birds of the area. Worse still is that when these ponds are built around the home owners frequently pollute them with a run off of chemicals used to keep their lawns perfectly lush and green. Similarly forests are being cleared to make way for housing developments and often times peoples yards look more like football fields than like natural areas to welcome birds.