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Carnegie Science Center Podcast

Beyond the Looking Glass: Bird-Friendly Windows


Follow along with the slideshow here.

Glass windows are the second greatest human-related cause of mortality to North American birds, accounting for nearly 1 billion deaths annually. In an effort to make the skies safer for our feathered friends, researchers are looking for ways to reduce collisions by making glass more visible to birds.

Matt Web, the Urban Bird Conservation Coordinator for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, will present his talk: Beyond the Looking Glass: Bird-Friendly Windows on Monday, May 1. Web will discuss developing research as to why certain types of glass are more prone to avian collisions, as well as how companies are making bird-friendly glass available.

Webb is involved in research at Powdermill Nature Reserve, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s field research station located in the Ligonier valley. He and fellow Powdermill avian researchers are using an innovative flight tunnel to safely test bird-friendly glass prototypes to use on new buildings.

Webb also started BirdSafe Pittsburgh in 2014, a local partnership of organizations dedicated to bird conservation in southwestern Pennsylvania. Teams of BirdSafe Pittsburgh volunteers spend the early hours of each day through the spring and fall migration combing the sidewalks of Pittsburgh, looking for birds that have collided with windows. Data is collected about each collision found and dead birds are brought back to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to become a part of the permanent museum collection. Birds that survived a collision are captured and brought to Animal Rescue League's wildlife center for rehabilitation and release. Citizen scientists also monitor the windows of personal homes, helping researchers learn more about what makes some bird-friendly window products more effective than others.

Webb has studied birds with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History for the past four years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Recorded Monday, May 1, 2017 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA