Burrow Bites

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Litterbirds Campaign Takes Flight to Reduce Plastic Entanglements in Birds

Urban Bird Foundation proclaims 2019 as the year against plastic and takes aim at reducing entanglements and impacts to birds with the launch of its Litterbirds Campaign.

“Anecdotally, we are finding increased litter in the urban and suburban areas where we work to conserve bird populations,” said Scott Artis, Executive Director of Urban Bird Foundation. “This plastic pollution is incredibly harmful to birds – impacting their health and survivability when ingested and causing injuries and death by entanglement.”

Bird habitats are being inundated with bottle caps, cigarette lighters, bags, straws, bottles, fishing line, and other plastic debris. The global problem affects more than wildlife as plastics have entered the human food chain, through the water we drink and the fish we eat. The impact on human health is not yet fully known but Urban Bird Foundation witnesses the impacts on birds frequently – most obviously through entanglements.

In an October 2018 study in Marine Pollution Bulletin, Entanglement of birds in plastics and other synthetic materials, researchers found:

  • 55% of bird orders and 21% of bird families are recorded to be entangled in plastic
  • 36% of seabird species are now known to be entangled in plastic litter
  • 10% of freshwater bird species are now known to be entangled in plastic litter
  • Fishing gear entangles 83% of the 265 entangled bird species globally.

“Plastic pollution and debris are now reaching levels that not only affect all levels of the marine food chain, but are infiltrating parks, creeks, rivers and every possible bird and wildlife habitat. Ultimately, this plastic pollution is impacting humans and our planet,” said Artis.

Learn more about our plastic pollution Litterbirds Campaign.

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