Project Safe Flight Atlanta is a conservation effort to further understand the issue of bird/building collisions in the Atlanta metro area. The goal of this project is to determine what species are colliding with buildings in Atlanta, how many birds are affected, what parts of town are problematic, and what can be done to make Atlanta a more bird safe city.
Volunteers with Atlanta Audubon Society’s Project Safe Flight Atlanta patrol the streets during both spring and fall migration, looking for birds that have been killed or injured after colliding with buildings. More than 500 birds, representing 70 different species, have been collected since monitoring began in fall 2015. Notable species collected this fall include Sora, Baltimore Oriole, Bay-breasted Warbler, Cape May Warbler, and Chimney Swift.
Migration is one of the most amazing feats in the natural world. Millions and millions of birds take to the skies, dodging predators, burning fat stores, and following the ever changing weather patterns as they press on towards their breeding grounds in the spring or winter havens in the fall. The setting sun and stars guide them as they soar through the night, some stopping along their ingrained routes to refuel. This journey is long and difficult and a relatively new threat has emerged and may be the most dangerous of all--buildings.
Current research estimates that between 350 million and 1 billion birds perish each year from colliding with buildings in the United States. Bright lights at night can disorientate migrating birds causing them to crash into structures or “trap” them in beams of light leading to exhaustion. Birds also struggle with reflective surfaces during the day as they stop and feed or rest. Shiny glass exteriors, internal plants near windows, glass corners, and lots of greenery close to buildings all can be deadly as birds struggle determining what is and isn’t a reflection and where there are open flyways.
Become a volunteer monitor. We Need Your Help!
We are in need of people to help us monitor for window collisions. This will entail you walking around select structures, taking notes on collisions, collecting dead birds for scientific purposes (Atlanta Audubon has all necessary permits), and occasionally helping injured birds. If interested please contact Director of Conservation, Adam Betuel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring Monitoring began March 15, 2017, and runs through the end of May 2017.
Sign the Lights Out Atlanta Pledge and join other commercial and residential homeowners in pledging to reduce outdoor lighting to protect birds during peak migration period. Click here to learn more or sign the Lights Out Atlanta pledge.
Report incidental findings. In addition to the formal surveys, we are encouraging everyone to document any incidental finding of a window collision. If you happen to stumble across a bird that collided with a window then submit your finding to D-Bird ATL. D-Bird is an online crowd-sourcing data collection tool that was designed by New York City Audubon. This data allows for greater coverage in the metro Atlanta area and helps provide context and guidance for future monitoring efforts. Whether at home, work, or out shopping, please report any avian collision victim you encounter. View a map of D-Bird ATL submissions here
Spread the word. Many people are unaware of this issue. Educate others, recruit volunteers monitors, speak with your supervisors or building managers if you believe your workplace is an avian hazard, or help connect Atlanta Audubon with builders and architects.
Make sure your home is safe. More than 40% of all window collisions occur at residences. There are many ways to make sure your home and your bird feeders are safe places for birds to visit. Placing your feeders at a safe distance or applying window treatments can go a long way in reducing window collisions. Please visit these links for more information.
CollidEscape - permanent and guaranteed window treatment solutions. Atlanta Audubon members can receive a 10% discount on window treatment purchases. Click the logo below for more info:
Fortunately, not all birds who collide with windows/buildings die. Many birds are found stunned and can be released in a safer location after they have had time to recuperate. Some individuals however are not releasable and would perish if left alone. Atlanta Audubon has partnered with Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort (AWARE) to care for these injured birds. AWARE is a volunteer-run rehabilitation center located in Lithonia, just east of Atlanta, that rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife native to Georgia. To learn more about AWARE please visit: www.awarewildlife.org/