By Karin Bolcshazy

Every year, millions of migratory birds die from colliding with buildings, especially those with extensive glass surfaces. During the day, these collisions result from birds mistaking reflections of open skies or nearby vegetation. At night, when most birds migrate, lit-up buildings lure them not just off their migratory paths, but straight into collisions. These fatalities account for 2 to 9 percent of all birds in North America in any given year, making building strikes second only to feral and free-roaming cats as a source of human-caused avian mortality in the United States.  Insect-eating and woodland-dwelling migratory birds are more likely to strike glassy buildings than other species, since they often fly at high speeds through small openings in the forest canopy hunting for bugs, a feeding method that may put them at greater risk of running into glassy surfaces that reflect vegetation. In just one night in October 2023, more than a thousand migrating birds died after crashing into McCormick Place Lakeside Center in Chicago, a convention center located on the shore of Lake Michigan, due to what experts say was a deadly combination of migration season, difficult weather, and a lack of "bird-friendly" building measures. And Chicago is by no means the only deadly city in which non-bird friendly  buildings cause carnage. The good news is that some cities are already working to reduce such strikes by requiring bird-safe building practices, which include adding patterns to glass to help break up reflective surfaces and turning off lights at night during peak migration. Congress, meanwhile, is considering the Bird-Safe Buildings Act. Please urge your U.S. Representative to cosponsor and support the Bird-Safe Buildings Act. Audubon Society; CNN, New York Times

Another story tells how more than a dozen North American migratory species were blown off course by remnants of Hurricane Lee and ended up in Britain and Ireland delighting birders who had never seen those birds in their country. Some of the migratory birds were able to reorient themselves around the storms and stay on the migratory path, while tens of thousands were swept out to sea with only a tiny number reaching Britain and Ireland. Those who made it will need to 'fatten up' for the continuing journey. Dr. Lees, a specialist of biodiversity at Manchester Metropolitan U and chairman of the British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee, noted that "only birds that are strong fliers …stand a chance to making the journey…For these small songbirds, the chances of ever getting back to where they're supposed to be are incredibly small." NYT 9/28/2023