Monitoring Bird-Window Collisions at the Monastery

Amy AlstadUncategorized 1 Comment

Yellow warbler on sidewalk, stunned by window collision

Since the Fall of 2021, volunteers from Madison Audubon and Holy Wisdom have been monitoring windows at the Monastery and Retreat & Guest House for bird collisions. The volunteers detected 21 window collisions during fall 2022. This was more than the combined number of collisions documented during the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022. The greatest number of collisions occurred at glass doors at the Retreat & Guest House courtyard. Dr. Amy Alstad, the Director of Land Management noted “This is a protected area with vegetation that is attractive to song birds. As soon as it warms up, we will be applying dot stickers to our most dangerous windows.” The stickers have been shown to be more than 90% effective at reducing bird widow collisions.

It is not known why the collisions increased so dramatically during the fall of 2022. Collisions included fatalities, stunned birds and window smears (evidence of a collision). The actual collision numbers are likely higher because not all birds are found by the monitors. The Monastery plans to continue participating in the Audubon spring and fall monitoring efforts. Continued monitoring will also guide the Monastery’s efforts to reduce collisions and evaluate the effectiveness of the stickers.

Nationally, it is estimated that as many as one billion birds die from hitting windows each year. Based on data collected from Madison Audubon’s Bird Collision Corps, it’s estimated that tens of thousands of birds die in Madison each year after hitting windows, many at residential houses. Monitoring efforts like this one are critical to understanding why song bird numbers are plummeting and what can be done to reduce the impact of losses caused by human activity.

We are grateful that Madison Audubon has included Holy Wisdom in its greater Madison bird collision monitoring efforts and are especially appreciative of the summary report written by Brenna Marsicek, director of communications and outreach at Madison Audubon.

For more information on the Bird Collision Corps and what you can do to reduce the number of birds killed by window collisions please go to: https://madisonaudubon.org/prevent-collisions

Comments 1

  1. Thank you Paul, for sharing this information. I am interested in seeing what the dots look like and how they work. Birds fly into windows for different reasons. Sometimes they see light from windows across a room and think they can fly through the space. Often, it is just the reflection of the sky and trees in the window that fools them. Window screens can block some of this reflection if they cover the whole window. Working to reduce bird/window collisions is a wonderful testament to our mission to care for the earth and all creation.

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