Collisions account for 5 of the top 11 direct human-causes of bird mortality in the United States. Studies have estimated that as many as 1.39 billion birds die annually in collisions with human-made structures such as vehicles, buildings and windows, power lines, communication towers, and wind turbines.
Mortalities from collisions affect some bird groups more than others. Ground-dwelling and ground-nesting birds, waterbirds, fruit-eating birds, and birds that are drawn to attractants on roads have been found to be at higher risk of vehicle collisions.
Of the collision deaths of more than a billion birds annually, between 89,000,000 and 340,000,000 are killed by vehicle collisions on U.S. roads. While other programs such as Keep Cats Indoors and Lights Out by other organizations that are addressing feral cats and building and glass collisions, Urban Bird Foundation is focusing on vehicle collisions – creating driver awareness and advocating for on-the-ground solutions at city and county levels to reduce human-caused bird injuries and death from car strikes.
Many additional human-caused threats to birds, both direct (causing immediate injury/death) and indirect (causing delayed negative effects to health or productivity) are not on this list because the extent of their impact is either not currently well researched or easily quantified. For instance, habitat loss is thought to pose by far the greatest threat to birds, both directly and indirectly, however, its overall impact on bird populations is very difficult to directly assess.
This great horned owl was rescued from the middle of California freeway by Urban Bird Foundation. The owl recovered from head trauma and was eventually released back into the wild. We believe it was struck by a car or truck.