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Five Billion Birds Die in U.S. Every Year

“Conspiracies don’t kill birds, people, however, do.”

That’s the headline of an article in today’s N.Y. Times about the rash of recent bird deaths in the U.S. and the numerous conspiracy theories that have surfaced in their aftermath.

The uproar began after 5,000 winged blackbirds were found dead one morning in Arkansas last month. Conspiracy theorists suggested that everything from pesticides to covert military activities could have caused the deaths, all arguments that were rejected by biologists and bird experts.

In this piece, reporter Leslie Kaufman thoroughly dissects what does cause most bird deaths:  people.

According to Melanie Driscoll, a biologist and director of bird conservation for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Flyway for the National Audubon Society, approximately five billion birds die in the U.S. every year.

The number one culprit of bird deaths is likely flying in to objects.  Deaths from birds crashing into windows alone are estimated to cause between 90 and 900 million deaths according to government estimates.

Cats kill hundreds of millions of birds each year, while pesticides are estimated to kill approximately 72 million birds annually.

Cars contribute 60 million bird deaths, while power lines slay approximately 174 million birds each year.