Advocacy groups in Chicago and around the United States are asking the public for help as millions of birds take to the skies for their annual migration south.
This week, the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors group said millions of birds will fly across the Midwest, making it one of the highest traffic times for the cross-country trip.
According to the group, 50% of birds using the Mississippi River Valley migratory path from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast are expected to make their way through or around the Chicago area over a period of just nine select nights, depending on the area. race and departure time.
For example, it is expected that there will be more than 437 million birds in the air at night on September 24, with the Midwest seeing the highest concentration of activity.
More than a billion birds die every year as a result of window collisions, according to studies, and many of those deaths occur during seasonal migrations.
Migratory birds can become confused or disoriented by lights in and on buildings, as well as glass elements within those structures.
That’s why advocacy groups encourage residents and business owners to take precautions to help bird populations. In the city, activists are asking downtown and lake property owners to dim or turn off the lights on the displays from 11 p.m. until dawn during the fall migration, which runs through Nov. 15.
Building management is also being asked to use motion-sensitive lighting in buildings and to dim the lobby lighting in the early morning when bird flights are at their highest.
In addition to turning off lights and drawing blinds to protect birds from being drawn in through clear glass, activists with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors are asking the public for help in saving birds injured in collisions with buildings.
If you come across an injured bird, you are first asked to call the group at 773-988-1867. If they are comfortable with that, residents are also asked to place the bird in a clean, unwaxed paper bag or cardboard box, with paper towels on the bottom.
Residents are then asked to close the box or bag and place the item in a safe, dark, quiet place until the bird can be handed over to a wildlife rehabilitation specialist.
Birds are extremely light sensitive and if exposed to darkness they will tend to relax or fall asleep completely.
Air holes in bags or boxes are not required and residents are asked not to open the box to check the bird’s health.
There are several major routes that birds use for migration in the United States, with one route following the Mississippi River valley toward the Gulf of Mexico. Other routes fly past the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains, as well as the California coast, according to the Audubon Society.
According to the Chicago Audubon Society, the city of Chicago participates in light safety programs to help protect birds from collisions with buildings.