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SPRING 2011
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Around the Quad

‘It’s raining ... birds’

When thousands of birds began to fall out of the skies in Arkansas, Louisiana, and other places worldwide in January, the phones started ringing off the hook at Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology. Expert Kevin McGowan soon became a regular guest on national radio and TV broadcasts as he urged people not to panic.

He also tried to put things in perspective, reminding people that “birds hit things all the time, but usually it’s only one or two, and so we don’t really notice it.” In fact, hundreds of millions of birds die every year from flying into windows, buildings, power lines, radio antennas, cell towers, and wind turbines.

McGowan hopes the January incidents have inspired people to pay attention to the things we can all do to make the more dispersed tragedies less commonplace, such as marking windows and keeping cats indoors.


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