Ocracoke nature, flora & fauna

All should help stop bird collisions

As a bird enthusiast and avid conservation biologist, I was pleased to see your piece on bird-window collisions. Studying bird-window collisions, and how to prevent them, has been one of my focuses during my short academic life. In Colombia, during my undergraduate studies, I led a group of students in an assessment of collisions on campus. Unfortunately, we found that migration was a critical time, and on bad days we could find up to 20 Red-eyed Vireos, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, and Swainson’s Thrushes that had met their end against a window. Currently, while pursuing a PhD at Duke, I am leading a group of students doing carcass surveys around campus during Spring and Fall migration as part of a 45-universities study carried out throughout the United States.
While I was trying to get my Lifer Snowy Owl with Peter Vankevich on Ocracoke Island, we discussed the issue of collisions on some houses and establishments, and I emphasized how important it was to prevent them, as they kill nearly one billion birds each year in the United States alone.
I am happy to see that the Ocracoke Observer has taken this and made it into an article and I encourage all residents to monitor collisions on their windows. Once you know which windows are most problematic, you can work on installing preventive devices, mainly UV reflective film or decals. Ocracoke is a key migration path for some neotropical birds, and keeping them safe through their stay here would certainly contribute to the conservation of their, sometimes declining, populations.
Thank you for joining us in saving the birds!
Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela
PhD Candidate, Duke University