Lights Out for Birds

Stop the Thud: Preventing Bird Strikes at the University of Minnesota

Each year, one billion birds in the US die when they collide with glass windows and doors.

These collisions occur because birds have trouble perceiving glass as a solid object and often fly into it when habitat or sky is either reflected or is visible through glass on the other side. Thankfully, there are many options available that make glass more visible for birds and help to mitigate collisions. 

The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities has made a commitment to reducing bird collisions with University buildings by pledging to retrofit buildings which have established patterns of bird-glass collisions and by ensuring that new buildings and renovations are compliant with bird-safe guidelines. One way we can all help support this effort, especially during migration season, is by making sure that interior lights are turned off at the end of the day. This is especially important for higher floors that are directly in line with bird flight patterns. Turning off interior lights that are not necessary for security purposes at night not only saves bird lives but it also saves money and energy.

Though these might seem small steps to take, reducing collision induced mortalities at the University of Minnesota could have profound impacts towards promoting continued health and biodiversity of birds in the state. The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities lies within the “Mississippi Flyway” – an important migratory corridor that many of Minnesota’s bird species follow during their migration periods. By making sure that birds can see and avoid the numerous widows on our campus buildings, we can greatly reduce the hazards that migratory birds face when they come through the University of Minnesota to rest and feed. With your support, we can decrease these fatal bird strikes and secure energy savings for our campus. 

To reach these goals, we need your help! We need to know where collisions are occurring on campus so we can identify which windows and buildings are posing the biggest threats to birds and subsequently work on retrofitting them to mitigate future collisions. If you come across a bird that has struck a building on campus, you can report it using the link below. Your participation with this project will provide valuable data towards making The University of Minnesota a safer place for birds and help all of us at the University of Minnesota take another step forward in reaching our sustainability goals.

Report a Bird Collision

Questions? Contact [email protected]