EcoMyth: Migrating Birds Know to Fly Around City Buildings
The average bird can cruise between three-inch openings in dense woodlands at upwards of 20-30 mph. So they should have no problem maneuvering their way around giant urban buildings, right? The answer is…not so much.
Experts say that between 100 million and 1 billion birds die each year in North America due to building collisions alone. Surprisingly, this figure doesn’t include bird kills associated with wind turbines or communication towers, both of which cause drastically fewer deaths by comparison*. And with Chicago being a hotspot for migrant songbirds, our tall buildings make us an especially treacherous fly zone.
So why can’t the usually savvy flyers get around these giant concrete blocks? We went to a few experts for the answer: Doug Stotz, PhD, conservation ecologist at the Field Museum, Annette Prince, president of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors (CBCM), and Caleb Gordon, PhD, an avian ecologist with Normandeau Environmental Consulting.
According to their research, the whole bird versus building dilemma goes a little something like this… (more…)