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Exposed vertical pipes with open tops pose a tremendous hazard to birds and other wildlife. They are particularly hazardous for birds that either fall into these openings, or enter looking for nesting space. Once inside, birds are unable to open their wings to fly out, and the smooth sides make it impossible to climb out. Inevitably, the birds suffer a miserable, unnecessary death from starvation and exposure.

Open pipes are a threat to all birds.

Open pipes kill birds indiscriminately. Both common birds and protected species have been found among the layers of dead birds in open pipes. And the destruction can occur
in pipes from one to 10 inches wide.

Audubon California staff recently pulled down a 20-foot-tall ventilation pipe from an
abandoned irrigation system and discovered a seven-foot-long black mass composed
entirely of decomposed carcasses of hundreds of dead birds and animals including
kestrels, flickers, bluebirds, and fence lizards. The date etched into the concrete at the
base of the pipe showed that it had been in place for more than 50 years.

Open vertical pipes occur in more places than you might think, including:
  • Sign posts
  • Fences
  • Survey markers
  • Buildings
  • Irrigation systems
  • Unused chimneys
How you can help on your property:
  • Look around and identify all the open top vertical pipes on your property.
  • Cap, close, remove or screen all of them.
  • Put screens over sapling protector tubes, or leave openings at the bottom for birds
    and wildlife to escape.
  • When you visit other properties – public or private – share what you know about
    the dangers of open pipes.
YAAS received permission from California Audubon to replicate the content of their web page about the problem of open pipes. Link to original page.

Other Resources and links about this problem:

Focusing on Wildlife: Mining Claim Markers Cause Millions of Bird Deaths