Did you know? Crashing into windows kills approximately 500 million to 1 billion birds each year!
By Dawn Cummings
Approximately 500 million to 1 billion birds are killed each year in North America by crashing into windows. (https://abcbirds.org/blog/truth-about-birds-and-glass-collisions) It is one of the leading causes of death for migratory birds. Transparent glass is invisible to birds. Birds only perceive reflected images and windows are like mirrors reflecting back the outdoors. Especially dangerous are windows reflecting images of trees and shrubs. When birds strike windows most are killed instantly. If not killed instantly, birds suffer a variety of internal and external injuries. Most window collisions take place during migration, and most happen during daylight hours, mornings, in particular.
In 1999 the first “Lights Out” program was initiated in Chicago. This program uses volunteers to walk around downtown and document dead window strike birds and rescue injured birds. In fall 2019 Denver started their own “Lights Out” program. The goal is to use the data to convince businesses to make windows bird safe.
We would like to start a citizen science program on the Auraria Campus. If you find a bird or see a bird hit a window on campus use the app to document the data. We need everyone on campus to help. If you would like to help even more pick a day of the week to regularly walk around campus looking for birds during fall (Sept –mid Nov)
and spring migration (April-mid May).
Why do birds fly into windows?
Transparent glass is invisible to birds. Birds only perceive reflected images and windows are like mirrors reflecting back the outdoors. Thus, especially dangerous are windows near trees, shrubs, and bird feeders which cause birds to attempt to “fly through” windows.
What happens to birds that fly into windows?
Unfortunately, birds are usually killed immediately and never fly away. If not killed instantly, birds suffer a variety of internal and external injuries. If they are able to fly away, even with moderate injuries, they are extremely vulnerable to predators. Window strike birds are not always found directly under a window. Birds flying into glass at high speeds may bounce off and land some distance away.
How can you make windows bird safe? There are a variety of window treatment options to prevent bird collisions. Netting, soaping, properly spaced decals, etc. Many can be easily installed for used just during migration season.
When do most window collisions occur? Most window collisions take place during migration, and most happen during daylight hours. Mornings, in particular, tend to be the worst time of day for collisions. Fall is worse than spring due to the larger number of birds in flight. This is because fall migration includes both adult birds and juveniles that hatched over the summer.
College Campuses Stockton University in Calfornia was the first campus to have a student team research the extent of bird window strikes on campus. The project led to a campus wide collaboration to treat campus windows with artwork to deter birds flying into windows.
Similar programs have occurred on other campuses. Students at the University of British Columbia and the campus sustainability program worked together to research bird window strikes on campus. The program held a competition for students to design window artwork that would reduce bird window strikes. https://sustain.ubc.ca/bird-friendly-design
We need help on the Auraria Campus to collect data on bird window strikes and to rescue injured birds. The Auraria Campus Sustainability Program will assist with lobbying AHEC (Auraria campus facilities) to make our campus buildings bird safe, after the data is collected.
How can you help? Volunteers are needed to walk around campus buildings (mornings are best) and look for dead or injured birds. When a bird is found use the app below to collect data on the bird location. If you find an injured bird call the Wild Bird Rescue and Rehab facilility (bird rehab phone number is found on the app) or contact Dawn.Cummings @ccd.edu immediately.
Download the app: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/73b1815153d942fc875b741f2cff6e5f
If you have questions or want more information please contact: Dawn.Cummings@ccd.edu