[BCNnet] Tree tubes and bird mortality (no sightings)

BFisher928 at aol.com BFisher928 at aol.com
Tue Apr 10 09:46:12 CDT 2012

Illinois birders and bird conservationists. 
BCN has been actively working with northeastern Illinois forest  preserve 
districts to solve the problem of birds getting trapped in fishing line  
disposal tubes at district fishing lakes (Cook County has made good progress,  
DuPage is fixing it now). But the messages below from the Wisconsin birding  
listserv are an indicator that tree tubes and uncapped fence posts can also 
be  tempting and lethal traps for cavity nesters.
Sorry for the cross postings, but I thought  this information would be 
useful to the birding and bird  conservation community. 
One thought occurred to me as I read these posts: Stuffing a plastic bag  
into the top of tree tubes would be a quick way to prevent a bird from  
getting down into the tubes. Presumably there are other, better  preventions?
Bob Fisher
Downers Grove
DuPage County
From: "Tom Schultz" <trschultz at centurytel.net>
Subject: [wisb] A  word of warning - Tree tubes
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2012 11:24:17 -0500

I  just received a phone call from a friend who recently experienced a 
tragedy  with a plastic tree tube. (These translucent plastic tubes are 
frequently  used to protect young sapling trees from deer damage.) They 
checking  their tubes to look for budding leaves and unfortunately 
a couple  of dead bluebirds inside. Fortunately a third bluebird inside was 
still  alive, and it flew away when the tube was raised. All three birds 
appeared  to be females, due to duller plumages. The tube was apparently 
located not  far from a bluebird box, and they have often seen bluebirds 
using the tubes  as perches.

I had not heard previously of this potential danger to birds,  but I 
it might be a good idea to put a warning out. A good solution  would 
probably be to put netting or something similar over the tops of these  
to prevent birds from entering.

Tom Schultz
Green Lake Co.  


Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2012 12:54:58  -0500 (GMT-05:00)
From: Sharon Reilly  <reillyhi at earthlink.net>
Subject: [wisb] Re: A word of warning - Tree  tubes

Unfortunately tubes have been a well documented hazard to the small  birds 
that are cavity nester. But obviously this threat is not well known to the  
general public. Birds can get inside the tube but cannot get back out. Just  
think of all those open-ended fence posts in your neighborhood (no cap on 
them).  Almost guaranteed to have a dead bird inside. 

I have personal experience  with open-ended metal fence posts being death 
traps. And since learning about  this problem have tried over the years to 
educate even the conservation  organizations I worked for about capping all 
fence posts! Not only do they  attract birds but they can also be a suitable 
site for unwanted species like  bees and wasps. 

Here's a story to show you the unfortunate SCALE of this  preventable loss 
- from the ABC on the mining stakes in Nevada.  

But every  citizen should be aware of similar TUBES like tree protectors, 
fence posts.  Anything with a small opening can be attractive to a cavity 
nester. If it is  smooth on the inside the bird cannot climb out and if it is 
too small the bird  cannot open its wings; it is a death trap and impossible 
for the bird to escape.  

You can save the lives of thousands of birds by passing this bit of  
information on to your friends and neighbors. If you need to use a tube be sure  
it is large enough in diameter for a bird to fly out, or put a mesh screening 
on  the inside. I know it's a lot of trouble for some people, but it is the 
only way  to make them safe for birds. 

Baraboo, Sauk  County

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