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Building façade-level correlates of bird-window collisions in a small urban area

Citation

Loss, Scott R.; Riding, Corey S.; O'Connell, Timothy J. (2020), Building façade-level correlates of bird-window collisions in a small urban area, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.gb5mkkwkf

Abstract

Urbanization increasingly exposes birds to multiple sources of direct anthropogenic mortality. Collisions with buildings, and windows in particular, are a top bird mortality source, annually causing 365-988 million fatalities in the United States. Correlates of window collision rates have been studied at the scale of entire buildings and in relation to the surrounding landscape, and most studies have only assessed correlates for all birds combined without considering season- and species-specific risk factors. In Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA, we conducted bird collision surveys at 16 buildings to assess building structural-, vegetation-, and land cover-related collision correlates. Unlike past studies, we focused at the scale of individual building façades, and in addition to considering correlates for total collisions, we assessed correlates for different seasons and separately for eight collision-prone species. Several façade-related features, including proportional glass coverage, façade length, and façade height, were positively associated with total collisions and collisions for most separate seasons and species. Total collisions were also greater at alcove-shaped façades than flat, curved, and portico-shaped façades. We found that collision correlates varied among seasons (e.g., surrounding lawn cover important in summer and fall, but not spring) and among species (e.g., surrounding impervious cover positively and negatively related to collisions of Painted Bunting and American Robin, respectively). Given the importance of glass proportion, collision reduction efforts should continue to focus on minimizing and/or treating glass surfaces on new and existing buildings. Our species and season-specific assessments indicate that management of some collision risk factors may not be equally effective for all seasons and species. Future research, policy, and management that integrates information about collision risk for all bird species and seasons, and at multiple scales from building façades to the surrounding landscape, will be most effective at reducing total mortality from bird-window collisions.