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Topic – How Buildings Kill Birds

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How Buildings Kill Birds

Every year, millions of birds in North America are killed or injured when they fly into buildings. Why does this happen? The answer is glass. Birds are flying into windows and tall buildings that are entirely covered by glass.

The Daytime Danger of Glass

Many birds migrate from one place to another. Most of the time, these birds live in wild habitats, such as forests, meadows, and wetlands. These birds have no idea what glass is. They might see small trees and flowers inside a window and think these plants will provide them with a good place to take a rest. The birds have no idea that there is a sheet of clear glass between them and the plants, so the birds end up flying right into the glass.

In some cities, there are many buildings covered with mirrored glass. A low building covered with mirrored glass might reflect an image of the park across the street. On a skyscraper, mirrored glass might reflect the image of a clear blue sky. Birds do not understand that these images are only reflections, so they fly right into the glass.

The Nighttime Danger of Glass

Some birds fly at night as they migrate long distances. Many of these birds use the moon and stars to help guide them in the right direction. Tall buildings that leave lights on at night can confuse the birds. This is a big problem on foggy and rainy nights. The birds see the light, but they cannot tell that the light is coming from inside a building. Their instinct is to fly toward the light, so they end up crashing into a building.

On many mornings, there might be several dead birds lying at the bottom of an office tower that keeps its lights on at night. The building’s janitors remove the dead birds long before people start arriving for work, so many people do not even know about the problem.

Trying to Solve the Problem

Many office buildings now turn off their lights at night. This helps reduce the number of birds that fly into buildings, and it also helps save energy.


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