Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/18/canadian_birds_bonking/

Forty Canadian birds BONKING against windows EVERY MINUTE

'Free food contributes to the problem'

By Lewis Page

Posted in Science, 18th September 2012 08:05 GMT

Shocking news from Canada over the weekend, as researchers there say that the country is in the grip of an astonishing outbreak of birds bonking against its windows.

"The thud of a bird hitting a window is something many Canadian home owners experience," begins an excellent press release from Alberta uni, alerting the world to blockbusting research by bird boffin Erin Bayne and his students.

Indeed, having recruited some 1700 Edmonton residents as citizen scientists, Bayne and his acolytes found that at times the thudding of bird against windowpane would seem to escalate almost to the level of a drum roll. We learn:

Bayne and his team processed the Edmonton data and concluded that with approximately 300,000 homes in the study area the death toll for birds from window strikes might reach 180,000 per year.

The researchers applied that figure to national housing statistics and arrived at the 22 million figure for bird vs. window fatalities.

By our calculations that means no less than 40 birds bonking up against windows across Canada every single minute. We are told:

Fast-flying birds like sparrows and chickadees and aggressive birds like robins are apt to collide with windows placed too close to free food.

Indeed it would seem that the bird-feeders much favoured by friends of the feathered worldwide are actually luring their avian chums to an untimely death in many cases.

"In many cases people who go out of their way to help birds by putting up feeders and bird friendly plants are unwittingly contributing to the problem," says Bayne. "A feeder three to four metres from a window is bad because the bird has space to pick up lots of speed as it leaves the feeder."

Full details on the terrifying extent of Canada's inadvertent windowpane collision death toll have been published in the journal Wildlife Research. ®