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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27 November 2016 | Birder's Guide to Gear Ypsilanti, Michigan heidi@bigbendnature.com 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- sions.abcbirds.org 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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