Bird Window Collisions

January  29, 2013

     A professor and students at Augustana College hope they've made a contribution to science. For a year they studied the problem of birds flying into windows, and their research has just been published in an on-line international scientific journal called PLOS One.

     Biology professor, Steve Hager, says they counted bird deaths at 20 randomly selected sites in the Quad Cities, and concluded most bird-window collisions occur at large buildings with lots of windows, and near natural spaces, such as parks and ravines. 

     "Knowing the factors that cause bird-window collisions allows us to predict where the problems areas are. And we can focus conservation measures aimed at reducing collisions in those hotspot areas."

     Large downtown buildings and small homes were the least likely to be involved. And Dr. Hager thinks architects could take all of this into account when they design new buildings.

     He and the students also learned some species are more at risk than others - there are similar numbers is this area of House Sparrows and Robins, but many more Robins died. Also juveniles were more likely than adults to die in fatal window collisions.

     Hager hopes other researchers will find out whether the Quad Cities results are true in other parts of the country, and for other species. The website, PLOS One, is sponsored by the Public Library of Science.