Humans aren’t the only ones that need traverse cities. Both here in the UK, and worldwide, innumerable faunal species need travel about urban environments too. Some species are permanent residents, of which one example is the hedgehog. Whereas others, including a great many bird species, come and go throughout the year, their movements synced with the seasons. Others still, are sporadic, but welcome visitors that tend drop in when weather conditions necessitate, of which waxwings are one.
However, urbanism, and in particular architecture and planning that works against not with the needs of faunal species interferes with these movements, and in the worst instances to the extent of causing injury and mortality. For example, did you know that bird deaths into the hundreds of millions per annum are attributed to the use of non-friendly bird glass in buildings? Or, that many bird species navigate by moonlight or starlight, meaning light pollution at the scale now manifest in many cities sends them off course?
The above are just a few of the ways in which human activities are undermining the integrity of faunal movements at the local, national, and global scale, and to such extent as may endanger some species. But, much is there that we can do to help mitigate the problem.
As with so many other types of challenge, we first need assess what need be done, how and why. The task is far too great for any one individual, any one school, any one city, or any one nation. And, not least, because complex though faunal migratory routes are, at a time of environmental flux, life is evolving in ways both expected and otherwise.
What can citizenry do to help assess the challenge to hand? We can monitor the species in our locale, and do so using low or high tech methods, i.e. ocular surveys and motion-triggered cameras. We can submit our findings to an every growing number of citizen field surveys. We can seek to find out more about how human actions impact upon faunal behavior, both migratory and otherwise. We can share our findings with our families, our friends, our neighbours, and our colleagues, such that they too can be aware. We can aspire to creating buildings that accommodate not merely for our own needs, but for those of many other species too. For example, when developers use bird-friendly glass they help reduce bird mortality rates, while also leading by example.
The best things in life are free, but they cannot be taken for granted. Surely, the least we, humanity, can do is help the many animals in our midst to navigate the environments that we create.
Are you up for the challenge? #GeoEcoNet