Bird-Window Collision Project at Duke

Over a decade ago, students in the Nicholas School of the Environment (NSoE) grew concerned about the issue of bird-window collisions and started a project to estimate the number of birds that die due to window strikes on campus, identify high risk buildings, and implement a solution to the issue.

This project was launched by Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela, the a PhD student at the Nicholas School, and is now led by Dr. Nicolette Cagle, an ecologist, naturalist, and  Senior Lecturer in the NSoE who offers several natural history classes. Master students and undergraduates volunteer for this joint effort, and the ENVIRON 706. Wildlife Surveys class collects data annually during Spring migration on campus.

Read more about bird-window collisions at Duke in this Chronicle article.

Duke Assessment

We are currently carrying out a survey around six buildings on Duke’s West campus to identify high risk buildings. During these surveys, which are carried out at migration peak months (April and October), volunteers visit the buildings every day for 21 consecutive days in search for carcasses. Additionally, we carry out informal censuses year-round and receive birds from other students who find carcasses around their buildings.

Sampling buildings Google Earth

North American campuses Assessment

Duke University has recently joined a North American wide bird window collisions campus assessment led by Augustana professors Steve Hager and Bradley Cosentino. Last year, 19 campuses participated in this assessment (check out this map!), for 2014 Duke University and several other campuses will join too. Our participation in this collaborative project is key due our campus’ location. We are located on the Atlantic flyway, one of the main migratory route, and we are the only campus in North Carolina to participate in the project. We hope to get other campuses on board


Once we have finished the assessment of bird deaths and high risk buildings, we will work with the Duke administration to install bird deterrents and prevent collisions. Check out these two websites with suggestions on how to prevent collisions for commercial and residential buildings: FLAP and American Bird Conservancy.

This project is open for volunteers. If you want to volunteer please contact us


2 thoughts on “Bird-Window Collision Project at Duke

  1. Hello,

    I am an environmental artist and volunteer with Lights Out Baltimore. I’ve put together this show and I’m wondering if you would like to host it adding any local artists with relevant work. I debuted the show at Goucher College and it will be at George Mason University in October. I’m hoping it will travel to other locations. There were seventeen artists and another has joined us.

    See catalogue:


    Thank you for what you do.

    Lynne Parks

    1. Dear Lynne,

      I have seen your work and admire it a lot! As matter of fact, I often use it in my presentations (credited of course). I will look into the possibility of this but I don’t know if there is a high chance. I am a student and busy with many things but I will try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *