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