How to prevent bird window collisions during migration as deaths spike


Scientists and volunteers at the Field Museum in Chicago collected nearly 1,000 birds Thursday, Oct. 5. The museum said it was the most amount of bird deaths recorded in their 40 years of data collection.

An unseen amount of bird deaths from window collisions occurred this week in Chicago, according to the Field Museum.

These preventable tragedies occur every year, especially during fall and spring migration, but this year has been noticeably worse. Nearly 1,000 birds died after striking the windows at McCormick Place convention center Thursday, “the most Field collecting efforts have documented in the past 40 years,” a post by the museum said.   

The incident has set Chicago’s birding community “abuzz,” reported WTTW, a PBS member television station in Chicago.

According to WWTW,  migrating birds were passing over some points of the city at a high-intensity rate of 100,000 that day amid adverse flying conditions. Both factors led to an overwhelming number of birds toward Chicago’s Lake Michigan beachfront along their harrowing journey.

Swarms of birds are flying over the US:Explore BirdCast’s new migration tool to help you view them.

In addition to higher incidences of bird collisions, recent evidence has pin-pointed climate change’s impact on birds. Birds in both North and South America are getting smaller as the planet warms, and the smallest-bodied species are changing the fastest, according to previous USA TODAY reporting. 

According to the Field Museum, smaller bodies hold on to less heat and larger bodies hold on to more, which helps animals stay a comfortable temperature in different environments. Meanwhile, the birds’ wingspans may have increased so the birds are still able to make their long migrations, even with smaller bodies to produce the energy needed for flight, the Field Museum said.


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