Monthly Archives: October 2014

Fall carcass survey summary – 81 birds down!

The leaves are starting to fall…it’s getting cold, and the birds have (mostly) migrated south to warmer climates. Migration continues but we have passed the main peak. We surveyed around Duke’s campus looking for bird carcasses in 7 buildings during 21 consecutive days (9/22-10/12). Before the survey we conducted a “clean-up” survey to reset the “bird death timer” and record bird deaths corresponding to each day. during the “clean-up survey” we found 10 birds belonging to 8 different species. Here are some:

Common Yellowthroat 2
Male Common Yellowthroat
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Female (or young male) Rose-breasted Grosbeak







During the official survey, we found 33 bird carcasses belonging to 14 different species. Most of these carcasses were found at CIEMAS. It’s worth highlighting Black-throated Green and Black-throated Green Warblers, both birds (somewhat) difficult to observe in Durham.

Black-throated Blue Warbler
CP 03 (2)
Black-throated Green Warbler







Not only do we have AWESOME volunteers that help us with these surveys, we also have tons of people who report birds from their buildings on campus! Big thanks to both of these groups of people, without them this project would not be so successful, THANK YOU!

Back to business, thanks to all the great people who report collisions outside of survey times, we managed to accumulate data all over campus during this Fall. These incidental observations resulted in 34 bird carcasses of 17 species, just as many as the surveys!

Here’s the overall total of bird carcasses found this Fall 2014, including clean-up day, official surveys, and incidental observations. the grand total was 81 carcasses belonging to 26 species!:

Common Name Quantity
American Goldfinch 11
American Redstart 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Brown Thrasher 2
Cape May Warbler 1
Carolina Wren 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Gray Catbird 8
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Hermit Thrush 2
Northern Cardinal 3
Northern Mockingbird 2
Ovenbird 3
Red-bellied woodpecker 1
Red-eyed Vireo 5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 6
Song Sparrow 1
Swainson’s Thrush 1
Swamp Sparrow 1
Unidentified 9
Veery 1
Wood Thrush 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 5

We will continue these surveys next Spring and Fall, let us know if you want to volunteer! And keep the bird reports coming!

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped, especially to our volunteers: Erika Zambello, Charlene Wu, Cassandra Pallai, Emily Blanchard, Sadie Runge, Anna Wilson, August Burns, Fan Zhang, Scott Winton, Anne Driscoll, Kelly Meehan, and Erika Hansen.

Wood Thrush


Rose-breasted and Red-eyed

A few birds we see have red somewhere on their body…some on the breast, some on the eyes, some on their chest…and some all over like the Cardinals! Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female or maybe young male)

This week, we have found two of these birds dead after a window strike. Ann Latta from the Undergraduate Financial Office reported a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, while the Fall carcass survey has picked up at least 4 Red-eyed Vireos in a week. They’re coming through…and staying here once they find their end against a window. In other studies, we have found Red-eyed Vireos to be the most vulnerable species to window collisions, with up to 20 found dead during migration season (Agudelo et al. 2010). As for the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, it is the first one we find dead, and also the only one I’ve ever seen on campus…how unfortunate.


Red-eyed Vireo (but you can’t see his red eyes anymore…)

Agudelo, L., J. Moreno, & N. Ocampo-Peñuela. 2010. Colisiones de aves contra ventanales en un campus universitario de Bogotá, Colombia. Ornitología Colombiana 10: 3-10.






Our project featured in “Outdoor Devil” blog!

Erika Zambello, luckily one of our project volunteers, blogs about her experiences at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment under the name “Outdoor Devil”. Erika has been a great volunteer for two carcass surveys last spring, and this fall. She found a Ruby-throated Hummingbird that had hit a window and was inspired to make others aware of the issue and to let them know what can be done and how to report a bird. At Duke, our project is the main gateway to report and prevent collisions. We tank Erika for her nice words and for helping us spread the word!

Read the blog here