395 Birds Were Killed In One Night After People Made One Simple Mistake

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On May 4, the Galveston, Texas, police department received a phone call about a number of dead birds around a building in town.

 

When an officer got to the scene, he was horrified to see not just a couple birds, but 395 of them, dead on the ground.

 

birds_killed_lights_1Source: Josh Henderson

 

Josh Henderson, supervisor in the animal services unit for the Galveston Police Department, told The Dodo:

 

It was absolutely a tragedy. I was remarkably surprised that there were quite that many. It was really beyond imagination for me to pull out 395 dead birds.

 

birds_killed_lights_2Source: Josh Henderson

 

According to Sarah Flournoy, program manager for Houston Audubon, a conservation group in Texas, they probably were disoriented during migration because of the building's lights and ran into the glass. She explained:

 

The lights from buildings cause disorientation. This is a fairly common threat to birds, so what we recommend is that building owners turn off the lights at night, particularly during migration.

 

This is not an unusual phenomenon. Up to a billion birds die this way ever year in the United States according to available data.

 

birds_killed_lights_4Source: Josh Henderson

 

But this many dead birds is much higher than normal, but a storm likely added to the birds' disorientation.

 

All of the different species had one major thing in common, they were migratory.

 

birds_killed_lights_3Source: Josh Henderson

 

So conservationists are warning residents to make sure to turn of their lights, especially at night, and even to put decals on their windows so birds have better viability.

 

What we’re trying to get people to understand is that it isn’t one particular building. This is something that the community needs to come together and work on. It’s more of a widespread challenge. It’s our hope that … [this incident] will create awareness of the problem, and how to generate a great solution.

 

H/t: The Dodo

 

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