Top causes of bird deaths in Canada

Over 270 million wild birds are killed each year in Canada as a result of human-related activities, according to a new report, and although many might blame things like pollution or even wind turbines, the vast majority are killed by some surprising and seemingly mundane things.

Cats, whether they’re pets, strays or wild, are the leading cause of bird deaths each year, according to the study. They claim roughly 200 million, just shy of three quarters of the total killed, every year. There’s an estimated 10 million cats in Canada, and although the majority of them are domestic, the feral and wild ones take the lion’s share of the birds, killing about 120 million of the total.

Buildings of all sizes — homes, mid-rise and high-rise — account for around 25 million of the deaths, all due to collisions. Roughly even with that, claiming another 25 million or so, are collisions with power lines. Collisions with vehicles comes in next, killing another 14 million.

The report accounts for other reasons as well, including hunting (5 million), pesticides (2.7 million) and agriculture (2.2 million eggs or young), as well as the activities of the oil and gas industry, forestry and mining, which are mostly responsible for destroying nests.

Coming in very low on the roster, which may be a surprise for some, are wind turbines. They kill an estimated 16,700 birds per year, which is less than a hundredth of a percent of the total. Wind energy is apparently expected to increase by up to ten times in the next 10 years, but even changing all of Canada’s power generation over to wind would still only claim an extremely small number compared to all the other sources of bird deaths.

There’s an estimated 10 billion wild birds in Canada, so the total number isn’t in any imminent danger. Some specific species are still endangered due to habitat loss and they can fall victim to cats as easily as a more populous species.

As for the incredible number killed by cats, we can have an effect on that by ensuring our pet cats are spayed or neutered, to cut down on the population of strays. Also, owners can keep their pets indoors, especially around dawn and dusk, when they do most of their wandering and hunting.

Source: Scott Sutherland | Yahoo News