The Philadelphia skyline is turning into a death trap for migrating birds, with building collisions the leading cause of bird deaths across the city, writes Alan Jaffe for Billy Penn.
This is not just an issue in Philadelphia. Across the country, window collisions kill nearly a billion birds each year.
Keith Russell, an ornithologist with Audubon Pennsylvania, has studied the problem in both Center City and beyond. He says birds can see the glass, but they do not know what it is.
“So when they start migrating and get into a city, their first encounter with glass is often their last,” he said.
Russell studied this in the heart of Center City from 2008 to 2011 in partnership with the Philadelphia Zoo and the Academy of Natural Sciences. The study focused on a 3.5-square-block area from 17th to 19th streets and Market to Arch.
“We estimated that a thousand birds a year were colliding with buildings in that one study area,” he said.
New initiatives are now attempting to fix this. Temple University recently put a patterned film on the windows of several high-impact buildings, which has drastically reduced the number of collisions.
Read more about bird collisions from Billy Penn here.