By: WSB Community
ATLANTA – One of the main causes of bird deaths in the U.S. is building collisions, according to the American Bird Conservancy.
The Atlanta Audubon Society is studying the issue to understand how many birds and which species are affected locally. In the last year, conservationists and volunteers have documented more than 60 different species found injured or dead on the streets of Atlanta as a result of colliding with buildings. The vast majority of birds found are migratory birds that are not local to the area.
"(A total of) 350 million to 1 billion birds die annually (in the U.S.) from this problem," Society conservation director Adam Betuel said.
According to the nonprofit’s program, Project Safe Flight Atlanta, there are two main reasons why the death rate for birds is at its highest this time of the year: reflective glass and nocturnal light.
“They use the stars and the moon as they migrate, and when they come over a well-lit area, like Buckhead, like downtown Atlanta, they can get confused by all the lighting just like a moth to your front porch light,” Betuel said.
To help, Betuel said homeowners and business owners can turn off lights at night and place special protective tape on windows to help with transparency hazards.
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Project Safe Flight Atlanta engages volunteers to patrol city streets early in the mornings to report any injured or dead birds. For the birds found alive, the organization contacts the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort (AWARE) for rehabilitation assistance.
“We see injuries that we often call neurologic, and so sometimes those birds may have a tilted head, they may have injuries to the eye, sometimes they’re just dull and depressed,” AWARE executive director Tarah Hadley said.
The dead birds are sent to the University of Georgia. Since last spring, the program has sent more than 100 birds to the university.
“Those birds can be used for research labs, classes, for professors and graduate students who are looking into certain research questions, problems that have to do with birds,” Betuel said.
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The Atlanta Audubon Society is looking for additional volunteers to join the Safe Flight patrols. Homeowners or business owners who find dead birds who have likely been killed in collisions are asked to contact Adam Betuel.
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