Audubon California staff last year pulled down a 20-foot-tall ventilation pipe from an abandoned irrigation system on one of our properties and discovered a seven-foot-long black mass composed entirely of decomposed carcasses of hundreds of dead birds and animals including kestrels, flickers, bluebirds, and fence lizards. The date etched into the concrete at the base of the pipe showed that it had been in place for more than 50 years. The incident revealed what we had long suspected: exposed vertical pipes with open tops pose a tremendous hazard to birds and other wildlife. (photos by Jeff King)
Exposed pipes are particularly hazardous for birds that either fall into these openings, or enter looking for nesting space. Once inside, birds are unable to open their wings to fly out, and the smooth sides make it impossible to climb out. Inevitably, the birds suffer a miserable, unnecessary death from starvation and exposure. Below is the view of dead birds and animals inside the pipe.
We’ve put together more information on our website about how to avoid these hazards. Our information includes a downloadable fact sheet for landowners and property managers. This is a simple way to make farms, ranches and other open spaces much more bird-friendly.