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How To Be A Friend To Migrating Birds This Season

Madelyn Beck
Mountain West News Bureau

Spring bird migration is underway and will continue in the Mountain West for the next few months. 

From now through May, birds migrating hundreds or thousands of miles will be flying over our backyards. That ranges from snow geese to pelicans to swallows. You could help them on their journey, though.

Meredith McBurney, who works at the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, has a few tips: "Keep your cats in, turn off your lights at night and just enjoy it."

When it comes to lights, they do make a difference. A lot of bird species migrate at night and bright building lights can confuse or disorient them. Bright lights can also cause more birds to crash into buildings. Researchers in Chicago had the massive McCormick Place Convention Center turn lights off and pull blinds at night, and that alone reduced bird deaths there by 80%.

You can also put out food or bird baths. But make sure your area hasn’t had any bird salmonella outbreaks before you do. Otherwise, you could help that deadly disease spread.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. She's from Montana but has reported everywhere from North Dakota to Alaska to Washington, D.C. Her last few positions included covering energy resources in Wyoming and reporting on agriculture/rural life issues in Illinois.
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