People of America! I have an urgent plea! Please, for the sake of America’s birdbrains, turn off your lights and shutter your blinds! Otherwise, you’re likely an accomplice in the brutal murder of one billion birds!
OK, that was a bit hyperbolic and a tad misleading. Let’s try it again.
The National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats, is asking Americans to make their communities “bird safe” in a concerted effort to prevent more than “one billion birds” dying per year from flying into closed windows.
The bird group told WBAL-TV in Baltimore that “lighting and reflectivity, specifically during migration for birds, is a really dangerous problem and kills up to one billion birds in North America per year.”
I’ll get to the very fuzzy math relative to how they came up with one billion later.
Audubon Senior Coordinator for Bird-Friendly Communities Erin Reed Miller told the outlet that she and another community activist collect 500 birds every four months from around approximately 25 buildings in Baltimore.
Lindsay Jacks, director of Lights Out Baltimore, also told the outlet:
We are just walking four months out of the year, 25 buildings, and we collect between 450 to 500 birds, and that’s just 25 buildings.
The alarmist group wants homeowners to “turn off unnecessary lights at night” and “close blinds, [and] curtains,” along with other non-bird-murdering precautionary measures, including asking businesses to install bird-safe glass, which is manufactured with patterns that make it more visible to birds.
Yeah, I feel like I should be writing the article for the satire site, The Babylon Bee, but let’s continue.
Fuzzy Bird-Brain Math
Here’s a perfect example of manipulating math to arrive at a number you think will make headlines:
How the activists arrived at an estimate of 1 billion birds per year is complicated, dating back to a meta-analysis of studies in 2014. The abstract estimated that based on a review of 23 studies, between “365 and 988 million birds” are killed annually by “building collisions” in the United States.
Amazing, ain’t it? It gets worse. Here’s more:
[B]ird activists have consistently thrown around another figure related to bird deaths: 3 billion. This number is cited as the number of birds lost on the continent since 1970, with Audubon itself promoting the figure in 2019.
The 2019 number … implies that 3 billion bird deaths over the span of 49 years is a massive toll …
Look, I’ve had several birds fly into various windows, break their necks, and die, over the years, which was sometimes traumatic for our then-young kids. Thing is, every one of those instances happened in broad daylight.
While I’m not suggesting birds don’t fly into windows at night, call me a skeptic, but I’m pretty sure that people turning off their lights at night and shuttering their blinds isn’t going to save the lives of one billion innocent birds.
Finally, which comes as a real “shocker,” the Audubon Society joined a coalition to ask the United States Senate for a stronger climate bill, to “ensure a rapid transition to clean energy.”
The Bottom Line
There’s no way in hell I’m going to comply with such a silly request. Moreover, I’m not going to stop using my gas grill to make BBQ chicken or my wood-fired smoker to smoke Thanksgiving turkeys. In other words, bird activists, buzz off. Or would that be fly off?
Either way, you’re chirping up the wrong tree here.