Bird feeders major contributor to fatalities
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/09/2012 -- According to a survey, the windows in Canadian homes are responsible for 22 million bird deaths each year.
“Window collisions with residential homes are an important source of mortality for birds,” says the study, published in a journal called Wildlife Research.
The most dangerous homes, says the survey, conducted by University of Alberta biology students, are those with bird feeders.
The survey was conducted on 1,458 urban and rural homes in the Edmonton area. It found 39 %of those homes had been struck by birds in one year. In more than one third of the cases, the birds died.
That equals 180,000 bird deaths each year in Edmonton. The students applied that ratio to all of Canada and determined the total figure for the nation is 22 million window related bird deaths each year.
The students noted that a primary factor in bird-window collisions was the presence of a bird feeder. Birds fly to feeders at higher than normal speeds, sometimes veering away to avoid hitting another bird and heading straight into a window.
Species most likely to die include fast-swooping chickadees and sparrows.
It helps if the feeder is placed further away from windows.
An Ottawa expert added that bird feeders also spell trouble, in this case for the homeowner, by attracting rats into homes, particularly in the autumn.
Bill Dowd, president of Human Wildlife Control, said fall is when rats and mice are looking for a warm place to sleep near a source of food.
“This is the time when mice and rats are looking to invade homes. They’re looking for a nice warm place to survive,” he said. “A mouse can get into your home with an opening the size of a dime. A rat — maybe the size of a quarter. It doesn’t take much.”
Once in, they chew on wood and the plastic coating on wiring.
Feeders also attract skunks, mice, squirrels and raccoons, said Dowd. “Birds will knock some seed out on the ground and all these animals will be attracted.” “Everybody likes feeding birds. But you can’t put feed out, or seed out, and expect it to be discriminatory. You’re going to attract every animal to that feeder.
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