Project Safe Flight Update: Fall 2014


Research Assistant Debra Kriensky provides an overview of this fall’s Project Safe Flight results:


Fall migration has come to an end, and we have now tallied up our findings from this autumn’s Project Safe Flight efforts. In all, a total of 78 dead and injured birds were found by our dedicated Project Safe Flight volunteers this fall, who go out every week during migration rain or shine to help us determine where birds are colliding with glass around the City. Monitoring took place at several sites this fall, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), Bryant Park, and the Richard Meier building on Prospect Park. Several new sites were monitored this year as well, such as Lerner Hall on Columbia University’s campus and the Ford Foundation Building. The MET and Bryant Park continue to be collision hotspots for migrating birds. Even with fencing obstructing parts of the route at the MET for the first few weeks of migration, our volunteers still found 50 birds there over the course of 10 weeks.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet © Alison Rea


In addition to our Project Safe Flight data, our new online data entry tool, D-Bird, provided us with information about dead and injured bird sightings from all over New York City and for the first time, we were able to combine that information with our Project Safe Flight data. What we found was alarming: a total of 237 dead and injured birds from August to early December. While we can’t be positive that they are all the result of window strikes, it is likely that the vast majority of them were. Of the 237 birds found, the species most commonly identified can be found below. These birds were comprised of at least 49 different species. Also below is a graph showing when each of these common collision victims were found, and as expected, collisions for each species follows their approximate migration dates through New York City. Of note is October 20th, 2014 when 29 birds were reported in one day.
While we were aware that areas like Bryant Park and the World Financial Center were collision hotspots, the data from D-Bird not only confirms this but highlights other areas of concern. One major collision hotspot is 1251 6th Avenue and nearby buildings, where we got 9 reports of dead and injured American woodcocks in a matter of weeks. Over time, we are excited about how D-Bird will supplement our regular Project Safe Flight monitoring and help us determine if there are more areas and buildings where we should focus our efforts.


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