Creating Awareness

While our group has yet to make any discoveries of deceased birds around UVA and Charlottesville, we know that these deaths exist and are most likely more prevalent in warmer months due to migratory patterns. For example, the ruby-throated hummingbird, a commonly affected species that is found in Charlottesville, migrates to Virginia around mid-April until the end of May (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries).

We have been looking into preventative methods that would be specifically beneficial to the UVA community. According to the Wilson School of Ornithology, one of the most effective ways of deterring bird strikes is the installation of fritted glass. Depending on how large the investment may be, UVA should look into installing fitted glass windows in Campbell Hall and Nau Hall, the two buildings we determined are most likely to encourage bird strikes. The Wilson School article also revealed that uniformly covering windows with decals or other objects that are separated by 5 to 10 centimeters was completely or near-completely effective in preventing strikes. This would be a cheap and effective option for UVA buildings to put on their windows. Finally, the study discovered that one in four bird strikes leaves no evidence of a collision after 24 hours, which may explain why our BioGrounds group has been unable to detect any birds. When buildings are not constantly monitored, 25% of bird strikes are undetected.

It is important to understand not only what causes these deaths and how to prevent them, but also why people should care to begin with. Birds have a restorative effect that is often overlooked, but that many people noted when directly asked about it. Studies have shown that people describe birdsongs as relaxing and have found them to supplement stress recovery (Ratcliffe 222). This is an instance in which birds show their inherent ability to enhance stress and attention restoration. People tend to dismiss birdsongs or classify them as an annoyance, but perhaps if they actually stopped to listen and appreciate the sound, they would experience its restorative benefits.

Works Cited

Ratcliffe, Eleanor. Birgitta Gatersleben and Paul T. Sowden. “Bird Sounds and Their Contributions to Perceived Attention Restoration and Stress Recovery”. Journal of Environmental Psychology. Sept. 2, 2013. Web.

Post by Susannah Saunders, Alison Lanshe, and Carolyn Albright