As with many other organisms, bird numbers have declined significantly in recent decades. Bird-building collisions (typically window strikes) are an important source of bird mortality and contribute to an estimated 365 million to 988 million bird deaths in the United States annually.1
The Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) is conducting a bird window strike survey to determine the frequency of window strikes on the IUPUI campus (with an emphasis on the periods of peak migration in April/May and September/October). The survey is being done as part of the Center's environmental stewardship (Service Learning) program, but all members of the IUPUI community are welcome to join.
Project volunteers are asked to commit to walking a route once a week (mid/late February until the end of the Spring semester). Currently, six routes are being evaluated: Science & Engineering Laboratory (EL), Engineering Science & Technology/Science Building (SL/LD), Innovation Hall (IO), University Library (library), Engineering & Technology/Business & SPEA breezeway (ET/SPEA), Gateway/Blackford Garage stairwells (GBG). Additional routes will be added if needed.
Volunteers choose a day of the week and time convenient to them: morning (7am-11am) and evening (3pm-7pm) shifts are available, and volunteers can walk their route at any time during the 4-hour shift window.
Surveying a route will entail walking the perimeter of a building to look for dead birds; walking a route should take approximately 15 minutes (each route actually takes about 5 minutes to walk at a slow pace but will take longer when the walker is looking for birds). Total time commitment for the semester is estimated at 3-5 hours. Volunteers are provided with a set of instructions that describe the project protocol.
Volunteers are encouraged to work in teams of two (birding buddies) so that when dead birds are found, one member of the team can record data, while the other person (wearing appropriate PPE) handles the bird. Volunteers will use the smart phone apps Seek and Merlin to identify birds, and birds will be photographed and collected to verify identification. (Assessing the accuracy of these apps is a secondary purpose of the project.)
Bird collecting methodology has been vetted and approved by EHS. CEES will supply collecting materials and PPE.
When filling out the registration form, those not taking part in a course that is doing service learning should select the volunteer option in the course and instructor fields. Volunteers will be contacted with further information concerning the window strike project protocol.
Information needed to participate in the project is below:
guide to photographing birds for the BWSP
Innovation Hall SL/LD EL (SELB)
Library ET/SPEA Gateway/Blackford Garages
1. Loss et al. 2015. Direct mortality of birds from anthropogenic causes. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 46:99-120