May 01 2014
Spring migration is really heating up. Every night the south wind brings new birds to town and with it the danger they’ll be injured or killed in Downtown Pittsburgh’s hall of mirrors. How many birds are hurt? This is the year to find out.
For six weeks BirdSafe Pittsburgh is discovering if and where migrating birds are injured Downtown. I learned at the kickoff meeting that accidents don’t usually happen at the tops of skyscrapers. Instead, most birds strike windows near street level when they become disoriented or confused by window reflections.
To assess the situation BirdSafe volunteers walk one of these eleven routes at dawn, looking for stunned or dead birds. Stunned birds are rescued. All birds are counted.
Participants have been pleasantly surprised at how beautiful and busy Downtown is at sunrise. Terry Wiezorek didn’t find any hurt birds last week in the Cultural District when migration was slow, but she did find helpful maintenance people who will keep a lookout and let her know. This week Monday’s increased migration tallied two dead birds and this rescued wood thrush that Matt Webb released at Allegheny Cemetery. As Matt says, “One bird saved makes it all worth it!”
BirdSafe Pittsburgh needs more volunteers during this busy time.
Want to sample the project before you commit? Meet the group at PPG Plaza on Monday mornings (next meeting: May 12) at 5:30am and walk a route with a BirdSafe volunteer. It won’t cost you anything because on-street parking is FREE Downtown until 8:00am.
Contact Matt Webb at (412)53-AVIAN (412-532-8426) or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. He’d love to hear from you!
p.s. A big thank you to Terry for providing supplies for volunteers!
(BirdSafe Pittsburgh route map and rescued wood thrush photo by Matt Webb)