Songbird Saver: Test New App to Help Prevent Birds from Colliding into Towers

An estimated seven million birds die each year in North America by colliding with broadcast and cell towers.These birds – primarily night-flying songbirds on migration, such as Yellow-billed Cuckoos – are either attracted to or disoriented by the lighting systems, especially when night skies are overcast or foggy.

Now, a website developer who loves birds has created a new app to make it easy to help implement a solution. With Stan Weigman’s Songbird Saver, you can enter your zip code to find tall towers near you, then send a request to operators asking them to turn off steady-burning red lights. This simple change is known to reduce bird mortality by about 70 percent.

The SongbirdSaver app is now in testing before a larger rollout planned for later this year. Please give it a try, provide your feedback, and be part of a simple change that will save birds in your community! 

(Note: Some of the data driving the app – including tower owner e-mail addresses – may be out of date. If you receive an email bounce-back from a tower operator, please print and mail your letter.Please provide your feedback on Songbird Saver to ABC’s Steve Holmer.)

A key factor in bird mortality at towers is height, with towers 350 feet or more above ground level posing the greatest threat. Elimination of non-flashing red lights on these towers also provides a substantial benefit to tower operators, who reduce electricity consumption.

Hundreds of tall towers across the U.S. have already updated their lighting to reduce bird collisions and reduce operating costs. The change was urged by the Federal Communications Commission, which launched a policy encouraging tower operators to adopt bird-friendly and energy-saving lighting configurations.

“We are seeing great progress and thank the operators of the 700+ towers that have updated their lighting to help reduce mortality of birds,” said Christine Sheppard of ABC’s Bird Collisions Program. “But there are still tens of thousands of tall towers across the U.S. with outdated lights. We are asking all tower operators to make this cost- and life-saving switch to help save migratory birds.”


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