DOWNTOWN — Thousands of birds are killed and injured while migrating through Chicago every year — but there are ways animal lovers can help them.
Scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ranked Chicago as being the most dangerous city for birds during fall migration — which is happening now — and spring migration. Because of Chicago’s location “in the heart of North America’s most trafficked aerial corridors,” it’s among cities that pose a “serious threat” to migrating birds, according to the researchers.
An estimated 600 million birds die from collisions every year in the United States, according to Cornell’s scientists.
Those that survive might be confused, injured and dazed, which can lead to them acting oddly or sitting motionless for long periods of time.
But they can still recover. People can best help by gently putting an injured bird inside a paper bag or a box with a lid and calling the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors at 773-988-1867.
The Chicago Bird Collision Monitors work with volunteers who will pick up the bird and take him or her to a wildlife center for a health checkup. The bird will be safely released once well so he or she can continue migrating.
If there’s no box or bag to put the bird in, those wanting to help can also place a bird in a safe place like a tree or a planter so they at least won’t be injured by other critters or from people.
“You want to make sure that nothing bad happens. It’s a kind of a foreign environment,” said Annette Prince, who runs Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, during spring migration in 2017. “These guys are like little tourists coming through Chicago.”
Homeowners can also help prevent collisions by turning off lights when they’re not needed, according to Cornell’s scientists.
Putting decals, special screens or curtains and using shutters, among other things, can also help prevent birds from running into windows, according to the Cornell Lab.
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