Efforts to protect migratory songbirds in our region reach new heights

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – One of the most important migratory routes for songbirds in all of North America runs through northwest Ohio, and it can be a dangerous and even deadly journey for little ones birds.

Steps are being taken to help protect little travellers, and you can be part of the effort.

Millions of songbirds are killed during migration each year after flying into windows, but something as simple as duct tape and turning off the lights can help prevent this.

Kimberly Kaufman has dedicated her life and career to bird conservation. She runs the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. She says tiny songbirds, often weighing less than the average pen, travel thousands of miles every year. Kaufman says they migrate at night using celestial navigation, which means they follow star patterns. “Tall buildings lit up at night disorient migrating birds. They can either crash into the building or circle around it until they fall to the ground. It is one of the main causes of death in songbirds.

Lighting adjustments will be made to the Perry International Victory and Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay to help change this. Lights will be turned off during peak bird times during spring and fall migration. In May and September, the memorial lights will be turned off two hours after sunset. “The fact that the management team have taken steps to reduce the decorative lighting of the monument in order to make the passage of birds safer is very important. We know from historical records that birds crashed on the monument.

The buildings in Toledo have also been part of efforts to reduce the mortality of migratory songbirds in recent years. “Every spring and fall, many of Toledo’s tall, lighted buildings dim the lights in an effort to make it a bird-safe and bird-friendly city.”

A large number of birds are also killed when they fly into house windows. Kaufman says we can all be part of the solution with things like bird tape. “The exterior of the window is reflective and birds think they can fly through. There are many products on the market that you can use on your windows to help birds. You want to put them outside, not indoors.We have bird tape here in our store.You can also temporarily use window screens or line your windows with bars of soap.

Kaufman adds that there are a number of reasons why protecting songbirds is important to all of us. “Any action we can take to make the passage safer or create more habitat isn’t just good for the birds. It is an indicator species, so if we lose birds, it is also a bad sign for the human population.

Our spring songbird migration typically runs from late April to early June. Autumn migration here runs from August to October. Spring migration to northwest Ohio attracts people from all over the world and injects approximately $40 million into the local economy.

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