where are all the dead birds

Have you ever wondered why you don’t encounter too many dead birds? Where do birds go to die, and why can’t we see them around us?

A New York Times article from 2011 claimed that 5 billion birds die in the US every year.

So where do all these birds go when they die? How come you do not see any of them around you?

Sure, there’s the occasional roadkill you might have seen on your drive to the office. But that does not explain the staggeringly large number that the figure demonstrates.

The answer isn’t as exotic as you might think. It is rather mundane. Nature has its own way of disposing of its dead, no matter how gruesome it may appear to us.

In this article, I will attempt to give you all the details you need to understand where dead birds disappear when their life is over.

Predators Finish off Everything

Cats, foxes, rodents, and other mammals are among the predators that swiftly find the previously mentioned hiding spots.

What follows is the gruesome dance of nature.

There may occasionally be a mound of feathers on the ground; this is simply the remains of a predator who has had enough bird flesh and left the feathers behind.

Even those feathers are usually recycled by other birds to build nests.

where are all the dead birds

How Do Birds Die?

Did you know that windows are the main cause of bird mortality?

As unbelievable as it may sound, there is research to back this claim.

Most birds do not pass away naturally, however we will talk about that in the section after this one.

For the time being, let’s examine some of the main factors that contribute to accidental bird death:

Birds are killed by a variety of man-made obstacles in their path. Some of the major ones include.

Type of Collisions Estimated Deaths (birds/year)
Windows 97-976 mn
Cellphone Towers 50 mn
High Tension Wires 174 mn
Electrocutions 10k
Cars 60 mn
Wind Turbines 33k

Window strikes are a major threat to birds. Because the glass in windows reflects their natural habitat, birds frequently fly into them.

Using outside screens, tape, or strings on the exterior of the glass, or adding decorative elements like stained glass patterns or window dividers, are easy ways to lessen these collisions.

Anything that lessens or diffuses the reflection from the window can help avoid bird strikes.

Communication towers are a major threat to birds because they have become more prevalent in recent years, especially those used for digital TV and cell phones.

Because birds are drawn to illuminated towers in the evening and at night, collisions frequently happen.

where are all the dead birds

Because high-tension wire collisions are difficult to spot from a distance, particularly on overcast days, they pose a serious threat.

When large birds, such as raptors, come into contact with live electrical wires and a pole or the ground, they can get electrocuted.

This threat is extremely significant despite the extremely small numbers because the affected birds have low populations.

Larger birds, such as eagles, frequently have smaller populations and lay fewer eggs.

In the US, there are a lot of roads, but this is one area where a lot of people are killed.

Redesigning the roadside is one idea that has been implemented in some regions of the nation and may help deter birds from gathering there.

Wind turbines also impact large and scarce birds like raptors.

The wind energy sector is debating how to create turbines that are more bird-friendly and where to locate them in areas with lower bird populations.

It’s believed that pesticides kill at least 72 million birds annually.

One problem with pesticides is that they decrease an organism’s capacity to reproduce and increase its susceptibility to predators.

Ordinary pesticides killed more birds than West Nile virus, according to a study.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of birds are killed by large and small oil spills; many of these incidents go unreported.

One of the main causes of bird deaths is lead poisoning, which is thought to kill about 4% of waterfowl annually.

Lead is absorbed by birds’ bodies through bullets, shot, and fishing sinkers.

The number one predator of birds are cats.

Every year, domestic and feral cats may kill more than 500 million birds. This is not natural predation but rather a human-caused problem.

Two species of small mammals that were thought to be extinct in the Southeast United States have been linked to cats, and feral cats are a significant issue on many oceanic islands.

where are all the dead birds

Fishing is another problem area.

Every year, fishing nets and hooks meant for fish catch tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, which has a substantial negative effect on some bird species.

Last but not least, the yearly waterfowl hunt in North America results in the deaths of roughly 15 million birds, but it is meticulously overseen and balanced by hunters’ conservation efforts.

Hunting has benefited many species in addition to the ones that are being hunted, and it poses no threat to the populations of any birds in North America.

Every now and then, while strolling through the city or countryside, you may come across a dead squirrel, rat, or mouse. You frequently come across road-killed opossums, raccoons, or other mammals while driving down the highway. Well, how many dead birds have you seen? You might have seen the odd road kill, but that’s about it. Why are birds so much lighter than mammals of a similar size? They are less dense and weigh a lot less due to their light weight, thin skin, lack of fat, feathers, and some hollow bones. Almost instantly after a dead bird hits the ground, tiny decomposers like bacteria and insects take over. Although coyotes and vultures may also partake in the feast, the smallest organisms are typically the fastest and most effective. A small bird, thin and light, disappears in three days and breaks down into an unidentifiable blob in about a day. A smaller mammal, like a rat, may continue to exist in recognizable form for a week or longer, but a larger bird will take a little longer. A road-killed raccoon with thick skin and large bones may lie on the shoulder of the road for two weeks or longer, while a road-killed hawk or owl will vanish completely in a few days to a week.

There is a scientific paper published in 1903 by M. Cline. Now, this was before we had a great understanding of feathers or even flight. Ms. With all seriousness, Cline said that birds can fly because they inhale deeply, becoming lighter than air (okay, that argument is already shaky), and then take off. Her evidence is that the occasional piles of feathers you see in the forest or field are the remains of birds that exploded after inhaling too deeply; these feather piles are obviously the result of a poor bird coming into contact with a predator. Opossums, foxes, and raccoons will eat the muscle but leave the bones and feathers, which are inedible. Rodents quickly devour the bones because they are high in calcium, and beetles quickly devour the feathers because they are primarily protein.

Even though handling a dead bird cannot infect you with the West Nile virus, it is still not advisable to do so.

Birds also float. In contrast to mammals, which typically sink and become covered in sediment, if they land in a pond, puddle, or lake, they are exposed to the air as well as scavengers and decomposers and rarely fossilize. This explains why, in comparison to other vertebrate groups, the fossil record for birds is so incomplete.

I have only ever noticed a lot of dead birds near bodies of water following an avian cholera outbreak that severely affected the waterfowl population. However, one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had was talking to a colleague under a juniper tree about a topic of undoubtedly international importance when a dead swallow fell from the tree and landed in my outstretched hand.

FAQ

Why don’t I see dead birds?

The absence of feathered corpses may be to do with the large numbers of urban cats, rats, dogs and foxes, and the fact that there are plenty of carrion-eating bird species in cities – crows and gulls – which don’t object to a spot of cannibalism.

Where are all the birds that die?

Birds don’t usually drop dead in mid-flight – they die in their nest or are caught and eaten, much like other small animals. Read more: What happens to cells in our bodies when they die?

Why are so many birds dying?

North America alone has lost an astonishing 3 billion breeding birds in the last half-century, due to threats like climate change, predation by feral and pet cats, and the loss of grasslands and other habitats. This panzootic is only making an ongoing extinction crisis worse.

Where did all the birds fall from the sky?

A bizarre video of birds literally just dropping dead and falling from the sky in northern Mexico has gone viral. The spooky video looks like a scene straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film, “The Birds.”