13 September 2010

Deaths of a Thousand Hurts - Bird-strikes U.S.A.

With the southerly bird migration underway, there are flocks of birds making their way along their route which includes many natural and artificial perils. A prevalent hazard is buildings with glass exteriors, which unsuspecting birds of many sorts hit and either die or are stunned and fall to the ground, perhaps to recover or be taken by some other hazard.

Bird-strikes are now occurring across the northern hemisphere, with millions of bird casualties occurring now, this autumn.

The following eleven bird-strike instances, are Omaha examples of the deaths and pains invoked upon the birds migrating southward along the Missouri River Valley.

11 Sep
• Gray Catbird - Omaha-Douglas Civic Center; carcass on the plaza, south of atrium area
• House Wren - 1200 Landmark Center; disabled bird, writhing about; north side, west section; this bird could not even sit upright because it was still suffering from its direct impact with the glass facade.
• Nashville Warbler - Holland Center for Performing Arts; disabled bird, south side, east end; beneath outer glass wall which is the upper section of structure
• Purple Martin - Kiewit-Clarkson Skywalk; carcass at the north half, west side; on the south end of this section
• Purple Martin - Kiewit-Clarkson Skywalk; stunned bird at the north half, west side; on the north end of this section; lying in street; moved to off-street location
12 Sep
• Common Yellowthroat - Qwest Center Omaha; carcass outside north-facing entryway at the south end of the west side

Common Yellowthroat, Qwest Center Omaha.

• House Wren - 1200 Landmark Center; stunned bird on the north side of the lower, eastern part of structure; east half, west portion
13 Sep
• Wilson's Warbler - 1200 Landmark Center; disabled bird at entry at glass wall east of south, atrium entry
• Common Yellowthroat - Holland Center for Performing Arts; carcass on the south side, almost at the west end
• Marsh Wren - First National Tower; disabled bird at entry at northwest corner

Marsh Wren, First National Bank tower, downtown Omaha.

• Wilson's Warbler - Loft 610, Midtown Crossing; disabled bird at Loft 610, north-central side of building on north side of Farnam Street; flew away before picture could be taken.

It was only a matter of time before bird strikes were expected to occur at the recently completed Midtown Crossing development. The wall-like buildings have glass windows, and are adjacent to trees in the former Turner Park, so it was inevitable that strikes would happen. Architectural renders provided the details to indicate the structures as hazards, as noted previously, and accurately predicted.

Loft 610, Midtown Crossing, showing the scene where a warbler was injured upon hitting the glass facade.

Ongoing Misery

The region's migration season is just getting underway, and the misery caused by many more bird strikes, will continue unabated. Each death is the sad loss of the life for a bit of feathered treasure, and the obvious pain caused is appalling.

What is most appalling however, is the apparent indifference by the building managers/owners who are so obviously indifferent to what they are causing. Then add in the obvious and repeated ignoring of never-ending violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the whole situation is a complete tragedy.

Warbler taken from the sidewalk on the north side of the Zorinsky Federal Building and placed into a tree, so it cover recover at a safer place. February 14, 2010.