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Fall Migratory Death

I was just chatting with my husband about travelling to Algonquin Park to see the fall colours. The maple trees are just starting to turn, and the Gravenhurst bakery will also be calling our names!

While relaxing this evening I also saw a report on a massive die off of migratory birds in the south western U.S. It’s speculated to be multifactorial with weather change and the wildfires being contributing causes to the deaths. No necropsies have been performed yet, so we will need to wait for the results. An ecologist in New Mexico is reporting on her Twitter feed while species of birds have been seen.

It brings me back to my vet school days when learning about exotic pets, including birds. For those who don’t know, cooking with Teflon pans, especially at high heat, is toxic to birds. So I wouldn’t be surprised if toxins in the smoke-filled air of the western states is contributing to these deaths. From my brief search on VIN, it appears that birds do not tend to survive house fires with smoke and heat inhalation into the air sacs causing death. Here's a little handout for those bird enthusiasts.

There was one comment on these threads about the birds dying due to the windmills we like. I think they were referring to the wind turbines used as renewable sources of energy. A few years, or a decade ago, I took a course in conservation biology. The professor was a specialist in bats. What he found was that flighted mammals are much more prone to barotrauma and death by wind turbines than birds were. Anatomically, birds differ greatly in the structure of their lungs than mammals.

Bird lungs are more susceptible to toxins due to their higher efficiency of exchange of air into the blood through the capillary system. Do you know about the canary in the coal mine?

Due to human activity, we suppress the natural cycles of wildfires, along with our climate changing, the wildfires are able to grow drastically large with all the fuel that is around. Birds can tolerate sudden changes in temperature, as long as they have enough food. But they cannot tolerate breathing in smoke and flying at the same time. I'll try to come back to update this post as time progresses!

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