I feel the need to clarify this image a bit after posting it on Instagram yesterday.
This is a representation of the many species of migratory birds that die flying into downtown Chicago buildings each year. There are more than 70 different species represented, but as many as 2,000 individual birds collide with windows on their routes in the Chicago downtown area alone. Although this is a beautiful image, it is not really what I would call ‘cool’ or ‘neat’.
These birds are not stupid. This is not an example of natural selection. This is a visual representation of the massive amount of impact that we as humans have on the environment around us. It is an indicator that we are in their way, not vice versa. It is ingrained within their DNA that the paths they are following are tried and true, and the safest ways to get from point A to point B each season. For thousands of years these species have followed the shore of Lake Michigan on their annual routes. They cannot see the windows of the high rise buildings because sky scrapers have not existed as long as these birds have been passing through this area, and it is unreasonable for us to expect them to adapt around architectural additions.
The Chicago Bird Collision Monitors is made up of a large group of volunteers that monitor collisions and fatalities of these birds each year. They work towards rehabilitating injured birds and reporting deaths to places like the Field Museum so we can best find solutions to this ongoing problem. With advocacy and awareness, we will be able to find ways of using bird-friendly glass and lighting so as not to confuse our feathered friends, and hopefully decrease the amount of fatal impacts each year.
Training for new volunteers begins in August! I highly recommend you look at the schedule and see if you can help out, or look for a similar group in your area.