I am writing to inform you that your manuscript - Year-round monitoring reveals prevalence of fatal bird-window collisions at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center has been Accepted for publication. Congratulations!
Collisions with glass are a serious threat to avian life and are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of birds per year in the United States. We monitored 22 buildings at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC) in Blacksburg, Virginia, for collision fatalities from October 2013 through May 2015 and explored possible effects exerted by glass area and surrounding land cover on avian mortality. We documented 240 individuals representing 55 identifiable species that died due to collisions with windows at the VTCRC. The relative risk of fatal collisions at all buildings over the study period were estimated using a Bayesian hierarchical zero-inflated Poisson model adjusting for percentage of tree and lawn cover within 50 m of buildings, as well as for glass area. We found significant relationships between fatalities and surrounding lawn area (relative risk: 0.96, 95% credible interval: 0.93, 0.98) as well as glass area on buildings (RR: 1.30, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.65). The model also found a moderately significant relationship between fatal collisions and the percent land cover of ornamental trees surrounding buildings (RR = 1.02, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.05). Every building surveyed had at least one recorded collision death. Our findings indicate that birds collide with VTCRC windows in the summer breeding season in addition to spring and fall migration. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) was the most common window collision species and accounted for 10% of deaths. Though research has identified various correlates with fatal bird-window collisions, such studies rarely culminate in mitigation. We hope our study brings attention, and ultimately action, to address this significant threat to birds at the VTCRC and elsewhere.