As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Study to look at how bird friendly new Hastings bridge is

Article by: LIBOR JANY , Star Tribune 
Updated: May 10, 2014 - 2:32 PM

With reports that migratory birds are hitting the new Hastings bridge, a study hopes to provide insight.

Bridges, along with other man-made structures, pose a threat to birds. Migratory birds have crashed into the Hastings bridge.

Sure, Mark Mar­tell had heard of birds crash­ing into man-made struc­tures, such as sky­scrap­ers, wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion towers and wind tur­bines — of­ten fa­tal­ly.

But bridg­es?

“It might just be some­thing about the height of the bridge, but I don’t know,” said Mar­tell, di­rec­tor of bird con­ser­va­tion for Audubon Minnesota, af­ter hear­ing re­ports that mi­gra­tory birds were fly­ing into the new Hwy. 61 Hastings bridge or be­com­ing en­tan­gled in the cables hold­ing up the $130 mil­lion span that con­nects the his­tor­ic river town to Washington County. But while en­vir­on­ment­al­ists and bird ex­perts have spent years study­ing how build­ings in ur­ban areas came to be such pro­lif­ic bird kill­ers, little such re­search has been done on bridg­es, Mar­tell said.

He hopes a new study, com­mis­sioned by the state Department of Transportation, will change that.

The study will be con­ducted amid con­cerns that birds fly­ing back from their win­ter­ing grounds in Central and South America may be killed or injured by fly­ing into the bridge, which cross­es the avi­an ex­press­way that is the Mis­sis­sip­pi River.

More than 300 spe­cies of birds — “mil­lions, if not bil­lions” — fly along the riv­er to and from their win­ter­ing grounds, said the park serv­ice’s Paul Labovitz, who serves as super­in­tend­ent of the Mis­sis­sip­pi River National River and Rec­re­a­tion Area.

“I watched a flight of peli­cans one sum­mer day fly­ing over that took 15 min­utes to pass over me,” Labovitz said last week. “So the num­bers are stag­ger­ing.”

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