Building Collision Studies
Each year billions of birds take to the skies for spring and fall migration. This is a great time to see the species that pass through Central Texas; however, millions of our feathered friends will never arrive at their destinations. The culprit: the buildings that dot our horizons. Their deceptive window reflections and disorienting night lighting all to frequently lead to bird injury and death.
Organizations and universities have conducted studies in several parts of the country on the causes of bird building collisions (also known as bird strikes). However, there is a significant lack of research on this phenomenon in Texas.
How You Can Help
Report Bird Collisions
If you witness a bird collision, you can add your sighting to our data by reporting it on the iNaturalist project: Austin Bird-Building Collisions. Every data point helps us document the magnitude of this issue in Austin, understand what factors are unique to Texas, and communicate the importance of bird-friendly design.
Our research team volunteers will be heading out to walk sunrise patrol routes every day from March 15 to May 9 to collect data on bird injuries and mortalities downtown and on the UT campus. If you have questions about using iNaturalist or the research team, please contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you find an injured bird, please call Wildlife Rescue 512-472-9453. Please note, it is against the law to keep a wild animal in your possession, even if it is dead. If you find a dead bird, U.S. Fish & Wildlife advises: Dead birds should be left where they are or promptly disposed of (if you move a dead bird, wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards as a safety precaution).
Take Preventative Action
- Turn off building lights at night during migration. Did you know that birds use the night sky to navigate? From high altitudes, our bright cities introduce competing light sources which confuses birds’ sense of direction.
- Disrupt window transparency and reflections. It is difficult for birds to distinguish between our windows and the open sky. Decals or window films can help them avoid an unfortunate collision.
- See American Bird Conservancy’s recommended products
- Birds migrating on the Central Flyway make a pit-stop in Austin to re-fuel. Plant bird habitat to create a safe migration stopover space where birds can rest and recover on their journey. Placing your feeder less than 3 feet or more than 30 feet away from the building has proven to be safest for birds.
When you donate to Travis Audubon you are supporting our ability to purchase materials for our study and offer important outreach and education for the whole community.
Thank you to Keep Austin Beautiful for providing supplies in support of our past research team efforts!