Here’s your biannual reminder to keep an eye out for dead or injured migrating birds!
The above photo is a representation of as many as 2,000 individuals from 70+ species a year that die when colliding with downtown Chicago buildings during Spring and Fall migration.
If you’re in Chicago, what should you do if you find a dead bird? Write a note with information on where the bird was found, the date it was found and put it in a ziploc bag with the bird, then contact the Field’s Bird division to schedule a time to drop it off. If you can’t bring it in the same day, toss it into a freezer. If you find an injured bird, check out this page and call the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors at (773) 988-1867.
If you don’t live in Chicago, look up a local natural history museum or nature center near you and ask if they will take in a bird - but remember, it is illegal for private citizens to possess most native birds, either in whole or in part (including skulls, bones, and even feathers), except under terms of special permits or by exemptions under hunting laws and licenses.
Why do we do this? Our ornithologists have been collecting window-killed birds for decades: by doing so, and recording the time/place of their collection, we are gaining new insights on the migratory patterns and populations of these species and are able to track changes over time.
What can we do to prevent more birds from flying into windows?
Birds will try to fly through transparent glass that they cannot detect. Birds will fly towards reflective glass that mirrors sky, plants or their own reflection!
Reduce a bird’s view through transparent glass to attractive areas of light, safety or greenery inside your house by drawing drapes or shades.
- Move attractive indoor plants away from being directly next to windows or block a bird’s ability to see indoor plants.
- Use external screens, window films, temporary paint or soap, decals, banners, streamers or windsocks on the outside surface of windows to block transparent or reflective glass.
- Use etched/fritted/frosted glass (or window films that replicated a frosted glass effect) to reduce transparency and reflectivity of window surfaces.
- Install bird safe glass that has ultra-violet patterns that make windows more visible (and avoidable) for birds.
Read more at the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors website.