Nobody knows how many birds die every year inside hollow mining claim markers, but estimates are high.
Nevada has a long history of prospecting and mining. The state was settled by miners just after the end of the American Civil War, and while their efforts brought prosperity and even statehood, in some cases they also left an environmental mess. We are still cleaning up the mess, and the more we do, we more we realize we need to do even more.
While seemingly small and insignificant compared to open pit mines and large-scale prospects that have been abandoned across the state, hollow mining claim markers have turned out to have large negative effects on birds and other small animals.
The main problem is that some of our migrating birds nest in cavities (holes in things). In nature, they use old woodpecker nests, rotten holes in old trees, and even cracks in rocky cliffs. In searching for nest cavities, birds like Mountain Bluebirds (mostly in northern Nevada) and Ash-throated Flycatchers (mostly in southern Nevada) hop down into the hollow mining claim markers to investigate — never to come out again.
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