Sep 15, 2009

What kills Birds?

What Kills Birds?

Human Causes of Bird Fatalities

Curry & Kerlinger has compiled the following information from environmental organizations and goverment agencies.

This list is meant to inform the public and to put wind turbine fatalities in perspecitve.

Glass Windows

Bird Deaths a year: 100 to 900+ million

Dr. Daniel Klem of Muhlenberg College has done studies over a period of 20 years, looking at bird collisions with windows. His conclusion: glass kills more birds than any other human related factor.
House Cats
Bird Deaths a year: 100 Million

The National Audubuon Society says 100 million birds a year fall prey to cats. Dr. Stan Temple of the University of Wisconsin estimates that in Wisconsin alone, about 7 million birds a year are killed by cats

Automobiles / Trucks

Bird Deaths a year: 50 to 100 Million

Scientists estimate the number of birds killed by cars and trucks on the nation's highways to be 50 to 100 million a year. Those statistics were cited in reports published by the National Institute for Urban Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Electric Transmission Line Collisions
Bird Deaths a year: up to 174 million

Estimates made by the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service demonstrate millions of birds die each year as a result of colliding with transmission lines.

Bird Deaths a year: 67 million

Pesticides likely poison an estimated 67 million birds per year according to the Smithsonian Institution. Cutting hay may kill up to a million more birds a year.

Land Development
Bird Deaths a year: unknown

Suburban sprawl is a silent but deadly killer. The National Audubon Society says loss of bird habitat is the greatest threat to bird populations.

Communication Towers
Bird Deaths a year: 4 to 10 million

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that bird collisions with tall, lighted communications towers, and their guy wires result in 4 to 10 million bird deaths a year.

Stock Tank Drowning

Bird Deaths a year: unknown

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and other conservationists believe that large numbers of birds inadvertently drown in livestock water tanks.

Oil and Gas Extraction
Bird Deaths a year: 1 to 2 million

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that up to 2 million birds died landing in oil pits to bathe and drink in 1997. Fish and Wildlife says netting has improved that situation somewhat. There are no overall estimates for the number of birds affected by oil and gas spills, and oil and gas extractions (and transport.)

Logging and Strip Mining
Bird Deaths a year: unknown

Logging and strip mining destroy bird habitat. According to the National Audubon Society, habitat destruction is the leading cause of bird population declines.

Commercial Fishing
Bird Deaths a year: unknown

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ornithological Council report that 40 thousand seabirds per year are killed in the Gulf of Alaska by longline fishing operations. These same sources say long lining and gill netting kill large numbers of birds in other parts of the country as well.

Raptor Deaths a year: more than 1,000

Experts estimate that more than one thousand hawks, eagles, falcons and owls are electrocuted on transmission lines and poles each year.

Bird Deaths a year: 100 + million

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service, more than 100 million ducks, geese, swans, doves, shorebirds, rails, cranes, among others are harvested legally each year.


Click here for a complete summary of studies on wind turbines and birds.

Sep 4, 2009

When a Wildlife Rehabber has to pee

I was working on my computer when I noticed undoubtedly that I had to pee! I got up and glanced at the bucket of drinking water for my 5 dogs. It was on 'reserve'. Dirty too. I considered if I could withstand the running water sound without having to make a dash for the bathroom and decided that I could.

I carried the bucket to the sink which was, of course, full. Both sides. I sighed and put the bucket down, reached for the Dawn and found the bottle near empty. I had to write it on the shopping list before I forget it! NOW! The shopping list is on the computer.

So I walked back to the computer, making really tiny steps, and opened the shopping list. Before I could write the item down I noticed a blinking icon, signaling me that there is important Email in my Inbox that requires immediate attention.

I opened my Email program and sure enough, the subject "HELP, FOUND A BABY SQUIRREL" was just screamed at me. I had to take care of this first. Forgotten was the pressure on the bladder, the dogs that wanted water, the dishes and the detergent.

30 minutes later I had written detailed instructions on how to find a wildlife rehabber and how to take care of the baby until such has been found and sent off. I tried to copy and paste a standard text, wrote numerous different responses, but none of them ever seemed to fit.

Once I had hit that sent button and the email was on its way to hopefully save a squirrel, my bladder reminded me that I had another job to take care of! I got up again and just rolled my eyes at the water bucket knowing that this time the sound of running water is not going to help. I almost made it to the bathroom door!!

Rrrrrring rrrrrring, telephone! "OMG OMG OMG, my dog had this little thing in his mouth and I think it's a squirrel, it's squealing it's head off, can you hear that??? OMG OMG OMG!!"
15 minutes later I had a hysterical old lady calmed down and given direction to my house with instructions on how to transport the squirrel safely.

On my next attempt to reach the bathroom I had to ignore my guilt feelings looking at my 2 Great Danes sitting by the empty water bucket, giving me this "we are going to die now if we don't get water an hour ago!" look.

No way! I kept on walking. I looked at the clock on the wall and realized that I had to get started with warming up formula because in ten minutes it's feeding time. There are not only thirsty dogs, but also hungry cats, puppies, kittens, squirrels, birds, opossums, raccoons, rabbits and myself.

But not in my condition! I turned the lights on in the bathroom and lifted the lid to the bowl..and yes, you guessed it, the door bell rang! I hesitated..should I just go for it? Get it over with and let whoever I didn't expect, wait? But what if it's a baby whatever that's hurt and in pain? I knew I was going to regret that decision, but I ran to the door uttering words I didn't even knew I knew!!

To make a long story short, it took about another 2 hours before I managed to relief myself. In the meantime I admitted 3 squirrels, calmed down and educated the folks who dropped them off, gave the dogs water because I had to run it anyway to warm up the Pedialyte for the squirrels, which were terribly dehydrated. Too dehydrated to just put down and go pee. And while I was at it, I fed the 6 squirrels that I have at the moment and some other critters too. I felt like gurgling!

This is a scenario that repeats itself with different variations every day. I do not get much done, even though I'm amazed sometimes how little I do not get done, but over 200 animals have not died this year and many kids and adults alike have not cried over them but instead learned about the critters they found and felt good about having done the right thing.

I also answered a phonecall while juggling some bowls and bottles, just to listen to some distraught old fool threatening me not to release any of those varmint tree rats in his neighborhood or he'll shoot them all! And how derranged and mentally ill I need to be to waste money and time on such useless junk and messing with nature instead of helping hungry human orphans in Africa. Makes me wonder what he does with his time other than wasting it by telling others what to do with theirs.

The same evening I was also told by somebody else that I need to get a real job where I can earn some money so I can drive a big car and live in a big house and be somebody. Thankfully I do not need advise from humans like that. My best teachers are the animals. They don't care how much you have in the bank, if you are ugly or pretty, if you are a king or a bum, nor do they feel sorry for you or themselves. So why should I?

I am Birgit Sommer, Wildlife Rehabilitator.

Sep 1, 2009

Currently at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue

Currently residing at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue:




6 Squirrels:

Lulu and her 3 puppies: