by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Building collisions continue to pose a threat for birds passing through Atlanta during spring and fall migration, according to Atlanta Audubon. Since Project Safe Flight Atlanta launched in fall 2015, volunteers have collected more than 1,400 birds of 105 different species. During the spring monitoring season that ended in late May, volunteers collected more than 30 species of birds, ranging from common birds like American Robin and Ruby-throated Hummingbird to more unusual species like Fox Sparrow and Virginia Rail.
“The purpose of Project Safe Flight Atlanta is to gain a better understanding of the bird-building collision problem in the metro area,” says Adam Betuel, Atlanta Audubon conservation director. “We are interested in learning what species are most likely to collide with buildings, how many birds are affected, and what parts of town are problematic. Our long-term goal is to establish partnerships with building managers, citizens, and other partners to make Atlanta a more bird safe city.”
Monitored sites included public sidewalks, private businesses, university campuses, and a government building. Each year, Project Safe Flight Atlanta volunteers patrol pre-determined routes around the metro area collecting birds that have collided with buildings. Patrols run from late March through May each spring and again from mid-August to mid-November in the late summer and fall, covering peak migration months for many species.
Current research estimates that between 350 million and 1 billion birds perish each year from colliding with buildings in the U.S. Attracted by nighttime lights and confused by daytime reflections of habitat in shiny windows, many birds become disoriented and fly into the buildings, ending their journeys and their lives prematurely.
There are several ways the public can help. One of the easiest is to reduce nighttime lighting during peak migration periods. Atlanta Audubon has launched Lights Out Atlanta to encourage homeowners and commercial properties to turn off nighttime lights from midnight to 6 AM during peak migration. For more information or to sign up, please visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/loa.
More information on how to make your home bird-safe and a reporting form for people who find dead birds are available on the Atlanta Audubon website at: http://www.atlantaaudubon.org/project-safe-flight.
About Atlanta Audubon: Atlanta Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.