You Can Protect Birds by Keeping Your Cat Inside

birds

We all love cats, they’re curious and fluffy and provide mixed feedback on whether they like you or not. We all love birds too, that’s why we shouldn’t let them meet. If you are a cat owner please please please keep your cat inside. Cat’s account for millions of bird deaths every year and are a major influence on the decline of bird populations.

Domestic cats are a threat to birds because they don’t eat what they kill, and keep on killing for fun. There is an easy solution to save wonderful birds: keep your cat inside.

Marra tells the story of Tibbles the cat, who traveled with her owner to an untouched island south of New Zealand in 1894. There, she single-pawedly caused the extinction of the Stephens Island wren, a small, flightless bird found only in that part of the world. Most cats aren’t as deadly as Tibbles, but your average outdoor pet cat still kills around two animals per week, according to the Wildlife Society and the American Bird Conservancy. The solution for these cats is simple, says Marra: Bring them indoors. The Humane Society of the United States agrees.

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I See a Wind Turbine and I Want it Paint it Black

Believe it or not there are people out there who don’t want renewable energy and actively campaign to keep our power grid based on world-destroying fossil fuels. These backward thinking individuals have had success in stopping some wind turbine installations by arguing that wind turbines kill birds. Sadly, wind turbines do kill birds (but come on, coal, oil, and gas power plants kill way more than just birds).

There’s now a simple way to protect birds from wind turbines: paint one bald black. An experiment run in Norway found that a simple visual clue is enough for the few birds that hit rotating blades to evade the blades.

Applying contrast painting to the rotor blades resulted in significantly reduced the annual fatality rate (>70%) for a range of birds at the Smøla wind‐power plant. We recommend to either replicate this study, preferably with more treated turbines, or to implement the measure at new sites and monitor collision fatalities to verify whether similar results are obtained elsewhere, to determine to which extent the effect is generalizable. It is of the utmost importance to gain more insights into the expected efficacy of promising mitigation measures through targeted experiments and learning by doing, to successfully mitigate impacts on birdlife and to support a sustainable development of wind energy worldwide.

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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

birds

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!

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