The fourth Thursday of November is a day of gratitude, but alas–not a good day for turkeys. Maybe some kind of penance is in order? Or consider an act of thanks giving for all the birds that dazzle our daily lives. They also knit and weave the world together in ways we know and may not know –like vultures serving as nature’s janitors.  Today, I offer one simple challenge to show birds generosity:  Never throw another apple core out your car or truck window!  

You may think it’s harmless to throw an apple core or other piece of fruit or food out the window. You might even take pleasure in how far you can chuck an apple with a quick flick as you drive at 60 mph. Think again. That apple core attracts rodents and even songbirds to our perilous highways that in turn attracts bigger birds like ravens, hawks, eagles, and owls.

A  kestrel might swoop down to catch a scurrying mouse and wham! It’s hit by a car. An owl at night flying on soft wings after a mouse is blinded by car lights and struck. A raccoon picks up the apple and races across the road and is hit. A bald eagle feasts on the raccoon and becomes the next roadkill victim. On it goes.

Convinced? Thanks for taking the apple core challenge, and enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving. Mmmm…an apple pie sounds good.


What is the issue?

Collisions with vehicles are believed to be among the top five direct causes of bird mortality in the United States. A recent study estimated that between 89 million and 340 million birds die annually in vehicle collisions on U.S. roads.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program
This screech owl collided with a car and was rescued, but will never be able to return to the wild. USFWS image.

Read more from the Wildlife Center of Virginia