Bird-building collision risk: An assessment of the collision risk of birds with buildings by phylogeny and behavior using two citizen-science datasets

K. Samantha Nichols, Tania Homayoun, Joanna Eckles, Robert B. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Bird collisions with buildings are the second largest anthropogenic source of direct mortality for birds (365–988 million birds killed annually in the United States). Recent research suggests that this mortality occurs disproportionately across species. However, previous work had relied on regional and annual measures of relative species abundance. Our research identifies which species experience higher or lower collision rates than expected from local abundances using two sets of citizen science data: Minnesota Project BirdSafe and the Mississippi River Twin Cities Important Bird Area Landbird Monitoring Program. Our analysis used a measure of relative species abundance that spatially overlaps the area monitored for building collisions and was measured weekly, allowing for a temporally and spatially more specific analysis than most previous analyses. Abundance and collision data were used to model phylogenetic and behavioral traits associated with increased collision risk. Behavioral traits included diurnal/nocturnal migration timing, length of migration, and foraging strategies. Our analysis shows that birds that predominately migrate during the day have a decreased risk of building collisions despite peak collision numbers occurring during early morning; this result suggests that more nuanced behavioral or physiological differences between diurnal and nocturnal migrants could contribute to bird-building collision risk. Additionally, for many species, local abundance is the predominant determining factor for collision risk. However, for ~20% of species studied, the family, genus, and/or species of a bird may affect the collision risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0201558
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Nichols et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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