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Indianapolis Skyline and White River
Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

Bird Window Strike


Building collisions, and particularly collisions with windows, are a major anthropogenic threat to birds, with rough estimates of between 100 million and 1 billion birds killed annually in the United States.

                                                                  –Loss et al., 2014



Every year during the fall and spring neo-tropical bird migration, many birds collide with windows because the reflection looks like the sky. Some birds are stunned, but for many of the birds, the result is death. The CUES began conducting a study in Fall 2009 concerning these window strikes, partnering with Lights Out Indy, and continued the study through the spring of 2012.

This project was reinvigorated in spring 2016 by the CUES and Professors Shelley Etnier and Travis Ryan with a focus on understanding how building structure and bird biomechanics influence vulnerability to window collisions in different bird species.

Get Involved

Students, faculty, or staff:

Found a 'stunned' or dead bird on campus?  A stunned bird is one that appears dazed, is sitting on the ground and not flying away.

  1. Do not attempt to relocate the bird or remove the carcass.
  2. Note the (general size of bird, color, etc.), where it was observed, and the date.
  3. If you are able, take a photo.
  4. Report this information to the CUES.

Want to help collect data on campus?  Contact Julia Angstmann for more information.

Community Organizations:

Want to partner to monitor your building in Indianapolis?  Contact Julia Angstmann for more information. 

Faculty Leadership

Professor Shelley Etnier, Department of Biological Sciences

Professor Travis Ryan, Department of Biological Sciences

Student Interns


Sam Ross, Biology '20

Project Title: Patterns of bird window collisions on Butler University's campus.


McKenna Albers, Biology '19

Project Title: Characterization of Building Aspects which affect Bird Window-Strikes  (Report) (Poster)   

Lauren Goertzen, Biology '20

Parker Hiday, Biology '20

Elissa Peck, Biology '18

Project Title: Bird Window Collision Deaths: The Role of Bird Biomechanics  (Report) (Poster)

Morgan Mueller, Biology '20 

Kelsey Zitt, Biology '20

Student Projects

Kill the Lights: Lights Out Indy - Fall 2010 Environmental Practicum Course

Kill the Lights Outreach Packet - Fall 2010 Environmental Practicum Course