Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bugs Catch and Eat Birds?

Who knew Preying Mantis eat hummingbirds? I sure didn’t. Click here for an astounding story with a couple very interesting, if somewhat gruesome pictures.

Okay, I’m a Googler; look what I found: a video clip of the same trick and another here where the big bug catches and eats a mouse! Sheeshhh!

Ya know, I might have nightmares…

I've been having a hard time at home these days; birds are regularly hitting my new kitchen window. I finally hung bird netting over the thing, not tight...but wrinkled, bent and moving a bit in the breeze. It's helping. Good lord, I was finding several every weekend; the only reason I didn't come home to the poor things at night is a cat has figured out where to get an easy meal. Ugg... I feel so irresponsible! I know full well that when I heard that sickening thump and went out to find a bird on the ground, keeping it safe for an hour or so till it could fly does not mean the poor thing lived. Generally they just fly off and die anyway. It's too sad.

When I lived off grid, I had the two feral cats that lived up there spayed and neutered and still felt horrible the number of birds the two of them caught and ate. If I ever keep another cat, it will be an indoor cat! I'd always understood that the main reason our song-birds are disappearing was domestic cats, but recently read windows are another huge contributor. It's the reflection, of course. Here are some disappointing stats regarding how many birds we kill annually. Hold on to your hats...

However, I've discovered some really cool stuff: a film ya put on the window which looks like a shade from the outside, but which you can see through from the inside! I've contacted the company and plan to buy the stuff as soon as I can. You can read all about the easy-to-install stuff here, and order it here; it keeps UV-rays down, too.

Speaking of bird fatalities, I've always enjoyed very dark dark. I am not a fan of 'light polution' but I had no idea it killed birds. This is such an easy fix; point lights down, keep the voltage low, turn them off at night. This is a quote from (Fatal Light Awareness Program)
Bird mortality at human-built structures receives relatively little public attention, but structural hazards are actually responsible for more bird kills than higher profile catastrophes such as oil spills.

Human-built structures have been recognized as a hazard to birds for more than a century. However, the accelerated rate of urban development in recent years has seen the proliferation of radio and television towers, office buildings, power lines, cooling towers, emission stacks, and residential housing, all of which represent an increasing threat to flying birds.

In the dark, and especially in foggy or rainy weather, the combination of glass and light becomes deadly. Confused by artificial lights, blinded by weather, and unable to see glass, birds by the hundreds and even thousands can be injured or killed in one night at one building. Over 140 different species of birds have collided with buildings in Toronto alone. One expert estimates that across North America, up to 100 million birds die in collisions each year. Many species that collide frequently are known to be in long-term decline and some are already designated officially as threatened. Compared to habitat loss, pollution, and over-hunting, the issue of building collisions is neither well-known nor adequately understood. Yet across North America, more birds die from collisions each year than succumbed to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Birds migrating at night are strongly attracted to, or at least trapped by, sources of artificial light, particularly during periods of inclement weather. Approaching the lights of lighthouses, floodlit obstacles, ceilometers (light beams generally used at airports to determine the altitude of cloud cover), communication towers, or lighted tall buildings, they become vulnerable to collisions with the structures themselves. If collision is avoided, birds are still at risk of death or injury. Once inside a beam of light, birds are reluctant to fly out of the lighted area into the dark, and often continue to flap around in the beam of light until they drop to the ground with exhaustion. A secondary threat resulting from their aggregation at lighted structures is their increased vulnerability to predation. The difficulty of finding food once trapped in an urban environment may present an additional threat.

I really hope you consider this stuff.

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