Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2016 Jan 5;11(1):e0144600. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144600. eCollection 2016.

Bird-Window Collisions at a West-Coast Urban Park Museum: Analyses of Bird Biology and Window Attributes from Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Author information

Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy, Institute of Biodiversity Science and Sustainability, The California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA, 94118, United States of America.


Bird-window collisions are a major and poorly-understood generator of bird mortality. In North America, studies of this topic tend to be focused east of the Mississippi River, resulting in a paucity of data from the Western flyways. Additionally, few available data can critically evaluate factors such as time of day, sex and age bias, and effect of window pane size on collisions. We collected and analyzed 5 years of window strike data from a 3-story building in a large urban park in San Francisco, California. To evaluate our window collision data in context, we collected weekly data on local bird abundance in the adjacent parkland. Our study asks two overarching questions: first-what aspects of a bird's biology might make them more likely to fatally strike windows; and second, what characteristics of a building's design contribute to bird-window collisions. We used a dataset of 308 fatal bird strikes to examine the relationships of strikes relative to age, sex, time of day, time of year, and a variety of other factors, including mitigation efforts. We found that actively migrating birds may not be major contributors to collisions as has been found elsewhere. We found that males and young birds were both significantly overrepresented relative to their abundance in the habitat surrounding the building. We also analyzed the effect of external window shades as mitigation, finding that an overall reduction in large panes, whether covered or in some way broken up with mullions, effectively reduced window collisions. We conclude that effective mitigation or design will be required in all seasons, but that breeding seasons and migratory seasons are most critical, especially for low-rise buildings and other sites away from urban migrant traps. Finally, strikes occur throughout the day, but mitigation may be most effective in the morning and midday.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center