Assessing and addressing bird-window collisions on the Queen's University main campus
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The risk of bird–window collisions, currently one of the greatest anthropological threats to birds, is predicted to increase as urbanization expands. In Kingston, Ontario, a variety of local geographical features and protected areas draw birds near the Queen’s University main campus. To understand the risk of bird–window collisions at Queen’s University, surveys for collision evidence were conducted across 8 buildings on campus. Surveys were conducted 2-3 times per week from May to November in 2019 and 2020. Surveys adhered to standardized methodology from this field of research, with slight variation to accommodate the timing of local scavenging events. During these surveys, 172 instances of collision evidence were observed (2019: n = 82, 2020: n = 90). This value is an underrepresentation of the severity of the issue, however, given scavenging rates, limited survey time, and collisions that went unobserved. Of the buildings surveyed, the Biosciences Complex had the greatest number of recorded collisions (n = 39) and Humphrey Hall and the Craine Building had the greatest number of recorded collisions per minute of survey effort (x = 0.0127 ± 0.0024). The number of collisions observed was significantly greater at sites with large amounts of adjacent vegetation coverage as opposed to moderate amounts, as well as during bird migration seasons. To mitigate collision risk, Feather Friendly® (3M) mitigation film was applied to the Biosciences Complex and to the Craine Building. The film did not significantly reduce bird–window collisions, which may be due to partial application across both buildings and a need for more observation time. Going forward, I recommend including mitigation tactics in campus planning. Ultimately, as the creators of this threat, we have a responsibility to mitigate it for the sake of the birds that pass the Queen’s University main campus and the sustainable society we aspire to be.