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Preventing window-strike bird fatalities with energy efficient window decals (In Progress)


According to a recent study published in Science this past year, nearly one quarter of North America’s total migratory bird population has been lost since 1970 (doi: 10.1126/science.aaw1313). Window strikes are the second leading cause of death of migratory birds, accounting for about 500-900 million deaths each year. Champaign-Urbana, IL is situated along the Mississippi Flyway, a major migratory route, making it a crucial highly trafficked waypoint for migrating birds. We completed a preliminary survey of bird window strike deaths at about 40 campus buildings during a 4-week period of the fall 2019 migration. Conservatively, we estimate that up to 2,150 birds die every year due to window strikes at the UIUC campus. Our estimate is extrapolated from a prediction that our survey counted only about a quarter of all bird window strike deaths because of limitations and difficulties in finding and collecting every possible bird carcass. We surveyed only a select sample of campus buildings. Many bird carcasses were taken away by scavengers (e.g., squirrels) and campus Facilities & Services cleanup crews before we could collect them. Birds often strike windows and land in areas we cannot reach to collect them (e.g., entrance overhang roofs), or do not die immediately and fly off and perish in a different location. Finally, our survey was conducted during only a portion (~50%) of only one of two annual major migration periods.



Our project’s goals are to:

 1) survey the UIUC campus for bird window strikes during fall and spring migrations,

2) install bird deterrent window decals on the highest risk buildings,

3) assess the long-term effects of window decals on bird window strike frequencies, and

4) use collected birds as educational resources.

No description has been provided yet.

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Benjamin Van Doren

    Project Leader:

    Joy O'Keefe

    Team Members:

    • Sarah Jacobson
    • Wren Dulnev
    • Leilany Fuentes-Garcia
    • Avi Berger

    Prior Contacts:

    • Mark Hauber
    • Sarai Stuart
    • Rachel Skinner
    • Alec Luro
    • May Berenbaum


  • Approved December 31, 2019


Project Location(s)

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