Saving the Birds of Charlottesville: Creating The Plan

It is estimated that “500 million to possibly over 1 billion birds are killed annually in the United States due to anthropogenic sources” and “collisions with human-made structures” (Erikson et al., 1). Our BioGrounds team therefore hopes to utilize this semester to monitor and assess the various “problem areas” around Grounds that prove harmful for the birds of Charlottesville.

In order to focus our data collection, we have chosen Nau Hall, Rice Hall, and the New Cabell Courtyard. These areas have a few common characteristics that are known to cause confusion and danger for birds and their flight patterns, such as building height and extensive large glass windows. In an attempt to expand on the work completed last year, we will also be looking into areas with high-tension wires and communication towers. Members of our team will assess bird mortality rates and occurrences around these areas on a weekly basis throughout the rest of the semester and record their findings on a shared document for later reference. Although our team will not be conducting daily observations, we believe that a longer assessment stretched over the next few months will account for any changes in migration patterns.

Also, in order to expand our evaluation of bird mortality, our team plans to reach out to multiple resources both here on Grounds and in bird-protection community. We are in the process of contacting Facilities Maintenance, in order to see if they have any insight on bird mortality at UVa or willingness to assist us in our weekly observations. In addition, we plan to speak with a representative of Dominion Power to address our questions regarding the effects of power lines on bird mortality and to get in touch with the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP), in order to gain a better understanding of general bird collection and mortality prevention.

At the end of the semester, our BioGrounds team will compile all recorded data and examine our findings. Our hope is that our assessments, along with information provided by Facilities Management, Dominion Power, and FLAP, will allow us to determine the buildings and areas that prove detrimental to the birds of Charlottesville.

Works Cited

Erikson, Wallace, Gregory Johnson, and David Young, Jr. A Summary and Comparison of Bird Mortality from Anthropogenic Causes with an Emphasis on Collisions (2005): TreeSearch. USDA Forest Service. Web.

Post by Maggie Gratz