Most North American birds migrate south during the fall, and back north during the spring while trying to avoid the harsh winters. Some species fly all the way to Central and South America, while some others migrate within the North American continent and call Durham their wintering home.
Collisions against man-made structures are the second biggest threat to migratory birds, after cats, causing an estimated 100 million to 1 billion bird deaths every year in the United States alone (Klem Jr. 1979, Loss et al. 2014). These estimates are rough because window strikes haven’t been quantified in most of the country. However, rough at it is, this means that preventing bird-window collisions would help a significant amount of birds, and everyone can help!
Duke University is located on the Atlantic Flyway, a route taken by many migratory birds during their amazing journeys (did you know some birds migrate 35,000 km roundtrip?). Through informal censuses, and thanks to the collaboration of many Duke fellows, we have concluded that window strikes are an issue for birds at Duke.
How will we solve this problem?
First, it is very important to know which buildings pose the biggest threats to birds. It is also important to know how many birds are victims of these collisions, and which species. Then, we will work with the Duke administration to install bird deterrents on present building and to design all new buildings to be bird-friendly.
Check out this website to see what Duke students are doing to save the birds, and join this effort to make Duke a bird-friendly campus.