Birder's Guide

NOV 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 28 of 43

27 November 2016 | Birder's Guide to Gear Ypsilanti, Michigan Heidi Trudell changes can fit any budget and almost any aesthetic preference, and it requires only a few spacing guidelines to be ef- fective. It's just a matter of understand- ing how and why collisions happen, as well as the dynamics of your particular window(s) of interest. For example, a "lights out" (turning a building's lights out from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. during spring and fall migration) approach will reduce 80% of the bird mortality at a skyscraper but will do nothing for yard strikes. Similarly, even densely placed window clings will not prevent territo - rial aggression when a bird sees its re- flection in glass. The only 100% effective prevention method is to make the glass appear solid and non-reflective. Placing markings on a window is one effective way to accom- plish this, but note that it becomes less effective as the spacing between mark- ings grows wider. (The American Bird Conservancy is testing this method at their Powdermill research site; see colli- to find out about the fantastic research they're doing.) The Compounded Problem Making windows safe for birds is more than just helping any given bird avoid an unnatural death at a pane of glass. It also reduces the likelihood of stunned birds being caught by cats, or by any of a number of other opportunists. Gulls, crows, dogs, raccoons, and even squir- rels may prey on downed birds. Many summer collision victims show physi- ological indications of breeding, such as well-developed brood patches, leav- ing one to wonder if a hungry nestling is nearby or if a second nesting attempt has been thwarted. The healthy and fit breeding population of migratory birds not only face windows as an obstacle during post-breeding dispersal but also in the fall and again in the spring… ev- ery year. What can you do to make a tangible effort in saving birds? Look no further than your nearest windows. Supplies to handle a variety of situations are listed below. The first part is for live or dead birds requiring immediate action. The Left: Even buildings that have relatively small, angled windows that interrupt a horizon reflection can be a hazard to birds, though flat panes on the same building have a substantially higher strike rate. Photo © Heidi Trudell Below: This window with one internal and three external decals was reported to kill about eight birds per year. Each Post-it ® note, however, indicates a strike print. Birds that survive hitting a window still have a 50% chance of dying due to injuries sustained in the strike. Photo © Heidi Trudell

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