by Matthew Webb
Did you know that millions of birds die after colliding with windows each year in the United States? You can help reduce that number by participating in a new citizen science study with BirdSafe Pittsburgh.
BirdSafe Pittsburgh is a volunteer-run citizen science partnership that studies the issue of birds colliding with windows. We focus our monitoring efforts on commercial areas within the city, primarily downtown. According to recent research, commercial buildings account for ~56% of the window collisions that occur each year, and residences account for the other 44%.
In 2016, BirdSafe Pittsburgh began to enlist the help of local homeowners to study the window collision
issue on their homes. To participate, a homeowner will monitor the windows on their house for a year using our scientific protocol to collect data about where and when strikes occur. After a year, we will use the data to identify which windows appear to pose the greatest threat to birds. A BirdSafe Pittsburgh technician will visit and work with the homeowners to install one of several different types of treatment to these problem windows. The homeowner would then monitor the windows for another year, helping us to learn how effective the window treatment was at decreasing window collisions.
There is no cost to participate, and all window treatments would be installed free of charge. If you
would like to be a part of this exciting citizen science study, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. Even if you have never seen a bird hit one of your windows, your participation is still useful! Remember, a zero is still a number, and it could help us better understand why birds may or may not collide with a particular window!
Matthew Webb is the urban bird conservation conservator at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a project coordinator with BirdSafe Pittsburgh.