Saving birds one window at a time

Post by Makayla Loveland

I implemented the University of Wyoming Bird Window Collision Project this semester. Dr. Patrick Kelley, a Harvard and UC Davis graduate, leads multiple research projects in his laboratory, which explores numerous topics involving animal behavior. He started this local project in 2020, but restrictions from covid-19 delayed his work. Because of this, Dr. Kelley has appointed me to manage the window collision project to aid him in his research. I was delighted to work on this project due to my prior interest in human interaction causing shifts in bird behavior patterns.

Alt text for image: UW Bird Window Collision Project logo which is a drawing of the state bird with university logo of a cowboy riding a horse.
Project logo, courtesy of the author

There is a concern with the number of bird deaths due to window strikes around campus buildings in Laramie. As the school increases in size, it continues to erect more buildings, increasing the chance of bird-window collision on UW property. Taller buildings have a higher risk for bird strikes compared to smaller buildings. As a UW student, I care because I would not like to be associated with an increase in bird mortality around campus. This project will estimate the number of deaths by window strike and help identify high-risk buildings so the school can implement a prevention plan.

I am trying to reach environmentally conscious people in Laramie using a website platform called webnode which requires zero skill. I only wanted to provide information about what we are doing and why on the website. I researched what people remember the most about a website and how to avoid complex ones. I chose an appealing style to make the website easy to read and look at. I created a simple appealing poster that will bring people to the website. The website also explains how to get involved and help collect data. The goal for this project is to reach students and faculty on campus. I hope that they know what to do when they see a dead bird on campus.

Up to one billion birds die each year from hitting windows. The window collisions happen all year round, with increased numbers in spring and autumn due to migration; no specific window, window size, weather condition, or time of day the birds will strike the glass. The birds don’t recognize that there is an object there. Practical ways to prevent bird strikes in urban areas exist. Anyone can quickly begin window prevention with different levels of experience. DIY preventions include black mesh screens, anti-reflective film, UV liquid, and glass art. If we detect a high-risk building on campus, then a more permanent change on the building windows will occur.


Makayla Loveland is a senior at the University of Wyoming studying Zoology.

references

Basilio. Lay, Moreno. Daniele, & Piratelli. Augusto. (2020). Main causes of bird-window collisions: A Review. Anais Da Academia Brasileira De Ciências, 92(1). https://doi.org/10.1590/0001-3765202020180745

Hager, S. B., Cosentino, B. J., McKay, K. J., Monson, C., & Blevins, B. (2013). Window area and development drive spatial variation in bird-window collisions in an urban landscape. PLoS ONE, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0053371

Klem Jr, D. (2009). Preventing bird–window collisions. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 121(2), 314–321. https://doi.org/10.1676/08-118.1

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