More people are dying every year due to drug overdoses, especially highly addictive and deadly opioids such as fentanyl because they can't get the anti-overdose drug naloxone (Narcan) in time.
Birds, however, have an even more serious and urgent concern than finding out how to flush fentanyl out of your system. As many as 600 million die by flying into buildings, some confused and blinded because of light pollution.
Cities with an exceptional number of bright lights after dark, primarily along the nation's flyways, are blamed for more than half of these deaths, but 250 million die from collisions with residential homes, not airports or skyscrapers.
Data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology found that Minneapolis was the sixth most dangerous city for migrating birds during the Spring and the seventh during the fall. The Twin City is located on the Mississippi Flyway’s top, the primary navigation access strip for 60 percent of the migrating bird species of North America.
Chicago led the pack in both categories, followed by Houston and Dallas. Other cities which are far away from the flyway, like Boston, ranked farther. Boston ranked 36th in the spring migration category and 24th for the fall season.
Although there were already past studies which provided extensive literature on crashing of disoriented birds and light pollution, the Cornell Lab research revealed new study grounds.
According to its authors, the difference in their study is that they took the data on light radiance from various satellites, overlaid it with bird counts generated from the radar for weather surveillance.
The migratory birds’ data were gathered from approximately 140 weather stations. Head researcher and chief study author Kyle Horton said that this is one of the few and specific tools used to detect the broad passing of migrating birds.
Contributions to Decline
Aside from light pollution and geographical location, the researchers said that climate change also contributed adversely to the rapid decline of the bird population. Even so, the threat posed by light pollution is by far the worst contributor yet.
According to scientists, the migrating birds die distracted by the artificial light from wind turbines, communications towers, and striking buildings.
Migratory birds favor the nighttime. They are safer from their predators when they’re hiding in the dark. Also, in the dark, the weather becomes calmer and cooler.
Consequently, these birds use the sun’s polarized light and the stars above to set their compasses and navigate. The night flight, however, leaves them more susceptible and vulnerable to light pollution emanation from the buildings, stadiums, car dealerships, homes, office buildings, and streetlights.
The nighttime light’s intense glow disrupts their compasses, but at the same time attracts them. They fixate on these lights, like moths drawn to porch lights. Some of these migratory birds even get entranced. When this happens, they just keep on circling and circling all through the night.
People get entranced by opioid drugs such as fentanyl, sometimes fatally, but we also figure out how to flush fentanyl out of your system with antidotes such as naloxone.
It’s frustrating to realize how things that men create can disrupt and destroy nature's beauty. Just the sight of migratory birds can give people a better sense of peace. It’s sad that just looking at mankind's creations causes these birds to die.