Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Birds 'heard tornadoes coming' and fled one day ahead

"U.S. scientists say tracking data shows that five golden-winged warblers "evacuated" their nesting site one day before the April 2014 tornado outbreak."

"Geolocators showed the birds left the Appalachians and flew 700km (400 miles) south to the Gulf of Mexico."

"The next day, devastating storms swept across the south and central U.S."

"They escaped just south of the tornadoes' path - and then went straight home again. By 2 May, all five were back in their nesting area."

Read full article here:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Vikings, 3M to test bird-safe film for new stadium this spring

"A Twin Cities-based manufacturing and innovation giant is working with the Minnesota Vikings on an effort to save migratory birds from colliding with 200,000 square feet of glass on the new stadium rising in Downtown East.
Minnesota Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said Wednesday that3M has a potentially bird-saving film that could be used on the glass. “It’s a test, and we’ll see what the test shows down the road,” he said.
The Audubon Society and other bird advocates in recent months have been whipped up over the decision by the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) to use clear glass on the new $1 billion stadium."

Thursday, December 11, 2014


“Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?”

-David Attenborough

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Photos: Aylett

Examples of some of the reflective windows on campus. Thanks Aylett!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Photos: Becky K.

Our first White-crowned Sparrow and the window it flew into (Bldg. 20A/E).

White-throated Sparrow and the window it flew into (Bldg. 20A).

Photo: Becky K.

Working on ID (Bldg. 21C).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Photo: Becky K.
One of the saddest pictures so far, Dark-eyed Junco (HY) (Bldg. 12D).

Friday, November 21, 2014

Photo: Becky K.
Golden-crowned Kinglet remains (Bldg. 3C).
Photo: Becky K.
Mourning Dove remains (Bldg. 7D).

Virginia Tech researcher works to protect birds from windows

Posted: Nov 20, 2014 10:54 PM EST Updated: Nov 20, 2014 11:39 PM EST By Bethany Teague, New River Valley Reporter

BLACKSBURG (WSLS) - After a bird collided with her office window last year, one Virginia Tech researcher decided it was time to act.  Rebecca Schneider formed a team of volunteers to investigate the issue of birds being hurt or killed from flying into windows.

In one year, the team documented more than 200 bird deaths in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center alone.

But the problem does not stop there.  It is estimated that almost a billion birds die across the U.S. each year from window collisions.

The team is hoping to eventually receive grant money to further this study.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Photos: Mary and Pat
 Working on ID (Bldg. 3C).

Working on ID.  2nd feather pile from Bldg. 3C.

For the birds

"Architects must limit the amount and type of glass on the first three floors of a building, considered the most dangerous area for birds, to earn the LEED credit for bird-safe design. Only 15 percent of all glazed surfaces on the bottom floors can be clear glass; texture, color or opacity must be added to the remaining glass to reduce threats from transparency or reflections."

"Glass treatment must be applied to the exterior to be effective, Brand said."

"Protective screens and shutters also deter birds by minimizing a bird’s exposure to transparent or reflective glass."

"Architect Eric Jabaley of Dogwood Design Studio said more affordable solutions from window manufacturers are needed to make bird-friendly designs appealing. He said most of his clients request as many windows as possible and set strict project budgets."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This male House Finch (Bldg. 15C) was reported to me yesterday afternoon.  When I found him it was cold and windy, he was sitting in a puddle.  I kept him in a paper bag in my office to warm up and recover for about an hour.  I then took him outside to see if he could fly away, he could not.  I brought him back inside and called a local bird rehabber.  She recommended keeping him overnight to recover since it was getting late and the temperatures were going to drop into the teens. 

Unfortunately, the trauma was too much and he didn't survive the window collision.  I often get inspiration from Lynne Parks.  Lynne is a volunteer with Lights out Baltimore.  She recently asked me to participate in an art exhibit in March to raise awareness of bird-window collisions.  I am thrilled and honored at this opportunity.

Taking photos help make sure these birds are memorialized in some way - that their deaths can help move this issue to the forefront of people's minds.  I had to find a fitting way to capture this House Finch.  I hope I did.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Virginia Tech news story!!

The HokieBird is helping us get the word out about this threat to birds.

How Better Glass Can Save Hundreds of Millions of Birds a Year

"The paucity of data on the effectiveness of various techniques for reducing bird-window collisions in a real-world setting is a problem for architects and glass manufacturers who have to put these ideas into practice."

"A lot of the advice conservation organizations give to architects is along the lines of "don't use a lot of glass near big bodies of water," says Sheppard. "Well, how close is near and how big is large?" she asks. "Architects are used to using things they can measure."

OUR project in the news!!!

Volunteer Researchers Work to Prevent Bird Collisions

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Photos: Kara K.
2nd Golden-crowned Kinglet in 2 weeks (Bldg. 7C).

Dark-eyed Junco (Bldg. 12D).

White-throated Sparrow (Bldg. 30C).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Photo: Kara K.
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Bldg. 12D).

Nature is full of surprises!  This Blue-headed Vireo (Bldg. 11C) was just reported at 3:00pm today.  I went over to document it and as I held it in my hand, I was gently dive-bombed by a hawk, a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's.  It was so close I could feel the soft breeze from its wing against my face! I wish I had gotten a better look at it.  Maybe this vireo was chased for some time until it crashed into the window?  I'll never know the details of what happened, or what species of hawk it was, but I will certainly never forget!  Hopefully the hawk will come back and finish what it started.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Photo: Caitlin G.
Our first White-throated Sparrow this fall (Bldg. 24A).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Photo: Mary and Pat
American Robin (Bldg. 12F).
Photos: Aylett
 Tufted Titmouse (Bldg. 136A).

Stunned Sparrow, eventually flew away (also at Bldg. 136A).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


One year ago when decided to investigate bird-window collisions at my office park, I had no idea what I'd be getting myself into.

One year later, we've documented 195 bird deaths.  46 confirmed species. 

Over the course of one year I've met some wonderful people. Kara, Chrissy, and Caitlin - you guys have been such a huge part of this project. If it weren't for you, this milestone would not have been reached.

Thank you to all my volunteers who helped build evidence that bird-window collisions is a huge problem we need to address. Thank you Katie, Julie, Catherine, Katy, Scott, Cindy, Lea, Elizabeth, Laura, Julia, Aylett, Justin, Mel, Lauren, Pat, Mary, Becky, Mike, Susan, Paul, and Eric. You all have made important contributions to this relatively unknown (sometimes ignored) threat to birds. Thank you to all my friends and family that supported this project during my little fundraising campaign.

I didn't think I could appreciate birds more than I already did before this project. But to see all the obstacles birds face on a daily/yearly basis, obstacles we as humans are responsible for, my appreciation for these tiny creatures increased exponentially.

Over the past year, I've found many dead birds in perfect condition with no obvious external signs of injury. I've found birds who were once beautiful and free, reduced to nothing but ant food. I've watched birds fly into windows right in front of me. One day in April, I sat with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, hoping it would overcome the injuries it sustained flying into one of the numerous mirror-like windows in the office park. I sat with that Hummingbird until I witnessed its last breath. 

This is depressing work, there is no doubt about that. I have a difficult time not letting my emotions take over. I am constantly upset with myself for not being charismatic or convincing enough to the powers that be to make the changes necessary to reduce the number of bird deaths here. I thought the birds would speak for themselves. But they can't. I thought 100 bird deaths would be more than enough. But they aren't.

How do you make people care? I'm having a difficult time figuring out the answer to this question.  Maybe most people just don't want to think about it. It seems like an enormous problem to tackle.  But we have to think about it, it is not going away. If policies are required to make people do something about it, then I guess that needs to happen. Whether it be turning off the bright city lights at night, moving bird feeders from mirror-like windows, soaping our windows at home, not washing our windows, installing window films, getting creative and turning reflective windows into non-reflective pieces of art instead - these are all things within our capacity to do.

"Even the smallest bird is a miracle that needs no further vindication or defense--which by its very existence demands our attention and respect." -Scott Weidensaul

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Photos: Caitlin G.

Mourning Dove (below) and window imprint (above) (Bldg.1D).


Woodpecker spp. (Bldg. 10E).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"There's never been a better time to be alive if you want to save species, because there's so many on the ropes. It's an excellent time to be alive, because we all can change things right now."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gray Catbird (Bldg. 11D).

Our first Tufted Titmouse was in such terrible condition, I just couldn't post the picture (Bldg. 12B). I say a lot of these birds are my favorite, but in reality, it's a close race between the Tufted Titmouse and Hermit Thrush.
Photos: Aylett.

Sometimes sparrows don't get the credit they deserve.  Just look at the gorgeous color and markings of this Song Sparrow. 

Somehow, and I really have no idea how, this is the same Song Sparrow that was reported on 10/9 at Bldg. 136, found again at the same location on 10/13.