Threats to Migratory Birds
The most vulnerable time in a migratory bird’s life cycle may occur during spring and fall when it is traveling between its breeding and wintering grounds. During migration, birds are under physiological stress and mortality rates may be higher than during stationary periods. Several factors that may contribute to stress and high mortality rates include:
- Loss and or fragmentation of stopover habitat in Great Lakes region due to changes in land use; pace of human alteration may exceed time needed for birds to adapt.
- Collisions with tall structures, especially communication towers, tall buildings, reflective glass on all buildings regardless of height, transmission lines, and wind turbines; certain types of lighting on tall structures may attract birds during adverse weather such as fog.
- Predation by domestic and feral cats; scientists estimate hundreds of millions of birds are killed by cats every year in U.S.
- Invasive plants that replace native plants and either do not provide food or lack appropriate nutrition to support migratory birds.
- Pollution of waterways from urban, municipal, and industrial sources, and pesticides and herbicides from ag practices, golf course practices, and mosquito control.
- Recreational activities, such as jet-skis, picnicking, boating, and off-road vehicles, during the migratory seasons can displace waterfowl and waterbirds.
- Dogs that run free (unleashed) near lakes and ponds can cause resting flocks of shorebirds or waterfowl to take flight.
Click on the WIngs logo to learn more about keeping birds safe from collisions.