Thousands of birds have met their premature deaths by flying into tall buildings that are lit up at night in Philadelphia and in many other cities. Academy ornithologists have monitored this phenomenon for years, along with partners including Audubon Pennsylvania, the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and others. Dedicated volunteers have diligently retrieved the bird carcasses and delivered them to the Academy, where our ornithologists carefully catalog and prepare them for future study.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has published an opinion piece written by the Academy and has allowed us to post part of the introduction here. To read the full op- ed on inquirer.com, click here.
Philly can save thousands of birds that crash into our buildings and die | Opinion
Posted: October 21, 2020 – 11:18 AM
Robert M. Peck and Keith Russell, For the Inquirer
On the morning of Friday, Oct. 2, Philadelphia residents, workers, shoppers, and downtown tourists were horrified and heartbroken to see the ground littered with hundreds of beautiful dead and injured birds. Feathered corpses and dazed but vulnerable survivors, in a rainbow of colors, littered the streets and sidewalks of Center City. Thousands of warblers, thrushes, wrens, vireos, and other songbirds were making their annual fall migration south from their northern breeding grounds.
Unfortunately, Philadelphia’s brightly lit buildings attracted many of them to their deaths. A combination of rain, fog, low clouds, and exceptionally bright lights caused them to strike the windows of office and apartment buildings.
To read the full op- ed on inquirer.com, click here.
Robert M. Peck is Senior Fellow at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Keith Russell is Program Manager of Urban Conservation at Audubon Pennsylvania. Stephen Maciejewsk and Linda Widdop of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and Leigh Altadonna of the Wyncote Audubon Society contributed research to this piece.
Photos by: Stephen Maciejewski