Help Save Migrating Birds – Lights Out & Cats In

Winter wren, credit Janet Pellegrini.

May is peak bird migration in Chicago and the Chicago-Calumet River system is a critical flyway for migratory birds. As this year’s World Migratory Bird Day coincides with Chicago River Day on May 13, it is important to recognize what each of us can do to lessen the risk for migrating birds by making changes to our everyday habits such as turning down the lights and keeping cats indoors.

Up to one billion birds die per year because of collisions with windows, according to research from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. And the Chicago Tribune reports the Cornell Lab has ranked Chicago "as the most dangerous city for migratory birds in North America."

While one of the greatest risks to migratory birds is light pollution, which disorients them, the Cornell Lab estimates that cat attacks kill more than 1.7 million birds annually in the U.S. and Canada, making it the No. 1 human-caused reason for loss of birds besides habitat loss. 

So this migratory season, as the Cornell Lab recommends, please follow a Lights Out and Cats In approach to help save migratory birds.