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Photo © Keith Williams
Photo © Chuck Hathcock and Jeann Faire

Cap Open Pipes To Save Birds

Researchers Chuck Hathcock and Jeanne Fair of the Los Alamos National Laboratory have uncovered a potential threat to birds that could be quietly hiding on your property. It turns out that open pipes or bollards, such as you might find supporting a gate, are often investigated by cavity-nesting birds. These birds may be attracted to the open pipes as potential nesting sites; however, after entering, the birds cannot escape. 

Their analysis suggests that up to 27% of open pipes contained bird remains, mostly Western Bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds. Larger pipes contained bigger birds such as jays and kestrels. Fortunately, the solution is simple. If you have open bollards or gate posts on your property, just cap them! Caps can be ordered to match the pipe’s material, or for an inexpensive fix, simply place a big rock, piece of wire mesh, or other homemade “cap” on top of the post. With all of the threats facing birds today, rarely is there a solution as simple and easy as this.

This video shows one lucky Western Bluebird being rescued from an open bollard that it had fallen into.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology