Simple Trick to Prevent Birds from Flying into Windows

The video above has a simple tip to prevent birds from flying into windows at home or at work. To save you 1.5 minutes of watching: use an appropriate marker to draw lines on the window. This is not as ugly (or damaging) as you might think since it’s a very thin line and can make a big difference. The Cornell Lab for Ornithology has a great resource for all your window and bird questions.

Please share this with a birdlover you know. It is often said that between 100 million and a billion birds die in the US each year after striking windows , in the UK the British Trust for Ornithology estimated a few years ago that 100 million birds hit windows each year.

I have tried all the usual ways of trying to stop the birds hitting the windows including sticking hawk shapes in the window, which just don’t work. Eventually I came up with this really cheap and simple solution. Please share this with someone you know who loves birds. Alex

Saving Animals Through Mass Surveillance

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Readers of this site know that I don’t like mass surveillance of human beings; however, the technology behind the tools used for intrusive observations of our private lives can be used to help animals. Henri Weimerskirch, a French ecologist, is using tons of little sensors on birds to monitor both birds and what they eat (fish). Right now we use human observation, satellites imagery, and radios to track animals. What Weimerskirch is doing now is to use mass data collection a la mass surveillance to monitor the well being of birds and fish.

The bird spies join an arsenal of technologies being used and developed around the world to catch illegal and unregistered fishing boats. The main tool right now is satellite surveillance, which has provided important big-picture data. But it relies on ships having signaling systems on board—which many unregistered vessels don’t, and which can be easily switched off to provide cover for illegal activity. The information is also relatively low-resolution and only updated every few hours.


This fall, as Weimerskirch’s birds begin patrolling the Indian Ocean, the waters around the Republic of Seychelles will come under new scrutiny. The government is partnering with FishGuard, a project developed by the drone company ATLAN Space and the nonprofit GRID-Arendal. The coast guard will control drones for two modes of operation: targeted missions and surveillance. In targeted use, the coast guard will send them to check out a suspicious boat that’s been previously identified. In surveillance mode, the drones will patrol a set area, and their artificial intelligence system will identify and report boats that match a registry of unregistered and illegal vessels.

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How to Start Bird Watching

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Spending time outside in nature is good for your physical and mental health, so why not do something while you’re out there? Bird watching could be the thing for you! Take your phone with you to catalog nature and help discover birds, that way you’re improving science while also improving yourself. If you’re wondering about what bird watching (or just birding) is all about you can check out this in-depth beginners guide.

Bird enthusiast and author Jack Connor published an essay back in 1984 highlighting the pastime’s appeal, and his reasons still hold true today.

Connor shared that birding gives folks something interesting to talk about, a reason to explore the world, and the chance to meet likeminded people and make lifelong friends.

Unlike many hobbies that have the equivalent of a shelf life, bird watching is a pastime that can continue into old age.

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Thanks to Jonny!

Bird Brains Avoid Wind Farms

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Opponents of clean energy try to find any reason to stop renewable installations (I guess they hate the planet?) and when it comes to wind farms they suddenly start caring about birds. Their argument is that birds will fly into the blades of wind turbines. This argument was recently studied on the shores of the UK and found to be marginally correct, instead of killing thousands of birds a wind farm found only an average of one every four months. This death rate is notable less than the amount of birds killed by flying into windows on skyscrapers. Hopefully the anti wind energy people now redirect their own energy to protecting birds from pointless deaths from lights being left on in towers.

Tim Frayling, Senior Environmental Specialist Ornithology, Natural England said: “Natural England acknowledge the significant achievement of providing empirical evidence of bird avoidance in relation to an offshore wind farm for the first time, and the progress in starting to address some key questions in this area.

“The proof of concept has been successfully demonstrated and we would look forward to seeing similar studies in different locations, including wind farms closer to seabird colonies.”

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eBird App is Helping us Understand Birds

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eBird is a mobile app that has been around for a few years and used around the world. As a result the app has been used to collect a rich dataset of bird sightings which provides enough data for researchers to have a very accurate understanding of some bird species. You can use the data to see how birds react to ongoing climate change or just to find out what’s migrating through your area.

“eBird data has become so good and so accurate in the Americas that we can track the full life cycle of populations of birds and watch them in real time as they kind of flow over the continents,” said Rondel.

She recommends people who are newer to watching birds also download the Merlin Bird ID app, which guides users through a series of questions to help them figure out which species they are seeing.

Beyond logging their own sightings, the app also helps bird enthusiasts find the birds they want to catch a glimpse of. The app allows users to search a specific bird and pull up maps that show where the birds have been spotted in the past.

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