Reducing bird-window collisions through science, art, & design

Institution: Michigan Technological University
Funders (24)
Views (5)

Why This Project Is Important 

Bird migration is one of the great wonders of the world. Sadly hundreds of millions of birds are killed by collisions with buildings, primarily windows, in the United States every year. Help fund this project to identify problematic buildings on the Michigan Tech University campus and to help develop design artistic and aesthetic design solutions that will reduce bird-window collisions.


Copper Country Audubon Club Donation Match

The Copper Country Audubon Club will match the first $2,000 donated! This will bring our potential total project value up to $10,000.


Project Description 

The Michigan Tech campus is positioned within a major migratory route for many bird species and thus many of these birds are at risk of window collisions with campus buildings. In 2014, Michigan Tech students and staff began to survey buildings on campus to determine the impact windows have on bird mortalities during migration. We learned that bird mortalities are not proportional to the window area of a building. Something more is going on. One hypothesis is that we are not finding carcasses at some buildings because they have high scavenger rates. In other words, scavengers such as gulls, crows, and squirrels may be removing the dead birds before we can find them. Thus our estimated mortality at some buildings may appear much lower than it really is. This may cause us to miss problem buildings or windows. To determine if we are underestimating mortality at some buildings, we would like to conduct a scavenger survey that will require use of game trail cameras. This project has created research and creative opportunities for science and art students on the Michigan Tech campus. We’d like to increase these opportunities by creating a student research internship and purchasing supplies for design classes to develop and prototype solutions. Visual arts students will design solutions -- from window treatments to alternative architecture to glass etchings -- that will reduce bird mortalities. In addition, they will build informative displays that educate our community as to the impact of individual buildings on bird mortality. The two groups of students, and the faculty researchers, aim to produce a body of work that combines science, art, and technology to develop new solutions for this prevalent problem.

Meet the Researchers

Amber Roth

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Lisa Johnson

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Andrew Meyer

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of $8,000 fund goal
The average donation for this project is $127
Up to $2,000 will be matched
days left
Funding is Closed

What Your Donation Can Help Us Do: 

  • Create research and design opportunities for science and art students at Michigan Tech.
  • Be more effective in our surveys by identifying scavengers that are stealing dead birds before we count them.
  • Purchase print media for students to develop sculptural and architectural models, purchase the materials to create prototypes, and create full-sized works of art that reduce bird-window collisions.
  • Develop highly creative ideas, beyond those that already exist today, to reduce bird-window collisions on campus.
  • Purchase supplies, create materials that raise awareness, and prototype real, innovative solutions for this problem.

$1 (3/100)

Thank-you email.

$25 (11/100)

Thank you postcard created by a design student.

$50 (9/50)

Thank you card created by a design student.

$125 (0/50)

Thank you card created by a design student AND a set of blank cards created from student designs.

$200 (0/50)

Thank you card created by a design student AND ABC Bird Tape for your windows

$500 (0/10)

Thank you card created by a design student AND a Limited Edition print of a student design.

$1,000 (1/5)

Thank you card created by a design student AND a Limited Edition print of a design AND the ABC bird tape deluxe package (2 sizes of tape & decal squares) AND an MTU campus tour of the research & design project sites with students and faculty members.

All donors will receive an invitation to the student science-art-design exhibition during the 2015-2016 academic year on the Michigan Tech University campus.

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Gifts to projects listed on SUPERIORIDEAS.ORG are received and processed by Michigan Tech Fund. Michigan Tech Fund is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code acting on behalf of Michigan Technological University. It is the policy of Michigan Tech Fund that a portion of the gifts and/or income therefrom may be used to defray the costs of raising and administering the funds.