Nikon Monarch 7

aba events

The Pros and Cons of Wildlife Friendly Yards

I’d wager a significant percentage of birders and readers of this blog enjoy attracting birds to your yards, be it through a feeder or two or wildlife specific landscaping. It’s one of the great joys of having a spot of your own, and an opportunity to bring the birds to you rather than expend the effort the other way around. But bird friendly yards have a cost, not least of which in that they attract wildlife to places where they are more likely to come into contact with feral cats, cars, windows and other components of the developed world.

We are increasingly aware of the impact of skyscrapers and large buildings on migrating birds, thanks to a number of citizen science projects like Toronto’s Fatal Light Awareness Program. A study recently published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications sought to discover precisely how much impact smaller scale structures, particularly those seen as wildlife friendly, have on those birds. And the results suggests that it’s quite a lot.

A stunned Overbird recovers beneath a window. Photo: Andria Lavine via flickr

A stunned Overbird recovers beneath a window. Photo: Andria Lavine via flickr

From the study:

Working with Alberta homeowners who collectively contributed more than 34,000 days’ worth of collision data, Justine Kummer of the University of Alberta and her colleagues found that the presence of a bird feeder, whether a house was in an urban or rural area, and the height of the vegetation in the yard were the most important predictors of collisions. Of Alberta’s 421 bird species, 53 were represented in the data, mostly common urban species.

While the number of bird collisions per structure was fewer than what one would see in a skyscraper, the total number of birds affected are much higher because there are so many more residential dwellings across the continent. And while homeowners are unlikely to remove their feeders or cut down their trees and shrubbery, there are efforts that can be taken to help mitigate these deaths. The authors encourage the use of tapes, films, and other treatments that can help to prevent bird strikes. There are certainly advantages to encouraging wildlife friendly backyards in terms of outreach and aesthetics that are important in their own way.

The full publication is available at the AOU-COS website.

Facebooktwitter
The following two tabs change content below.
Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
  • Sharon McInnes

    Wanted to share this with the local Facebook birding group but the F link didn’t work.

    • Were you having trouble with a link in the post? Or the URL for the post itself?

      • Sharon McInnes

        It worked from my laptop just now. It was the facebook icon that didn’t take me anywhere. Instead I got a message saying ooops, there was a problem, etc. But all is well now. Shared! Thanks Nate.

  • Jackie A.

    We’ve had good luck with the soft yellow, 3 x 5 Post-It notes on our windows to prevent bird strikes. I also tried the soft pink and blue – the yellow works best, maybe they can see that color better. They remove easily to clean the windows, without leaving adhesive marks and stay up a long time.

For decades, we have worked hard to mentor and encourage birding’s next generation.

Please help us build a brighter future for birds and for birding. Click here to donate now.

We have raised 31.69% of our $30,000.00 goal:

31.69%


American Birding Podcast

Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »

Recent Comments

Categories

Authors

Archives

ABA's FREE Birder's Guide

If you live nearby, or are travelling in the area, come visit the ABA Headquarters in Delaware City.

Beginning this spring we will be having bird walks, heron watches and evening cruises, right from our front porch! Click here to view the full calender, and register for events >>

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Open Mice: Kestrels–An Iowa Legacy May 16, 2017 6:29
    A few years ago, a short drive down my gravel road would yield at least one, if not two, American Kestrels perched on a power line or hovering mid-air above the grassy ditch. Today, I have begun to count myself lucky to drive past a mere one kestrel per week rather than the daily sightings. […]
  • It’s the Maine Young Birders Club! May 13, 2017 4:03
    York County Audubon is helping to launch the Maine Young Birders Club (MYBC)—the first of its kind in the state! […]
  • Announcing the 2017 ABA Young Birders of the Year! February 28, 2017 10:48
    The judges have reviewed all of the outstanding entries. ABA staff has compiled the scores. After much anticipation, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2017 ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest! Your 2017 ABA Young Birder of the Year in the 14-18 age group is 18-year-old Johanna Beam from Lyons, Colorado. […]

Follow ABA on Twitter