May 01 2014

Be A BirdSafe Volunteer

Published by at 7:20 am under Books & Events

Wood thrush rescued Downtown, 28 April 2014 (photo by Matt Webb)

Spring migration is really heating up.  Every night the south wind brings new birds to town and with it the danger they'll be injured or killed in Downtown Pittsburgh's hall of mirrors.   How many birds are hurt?  This is the year to find out.

For six weeks BirdSafe Pittsburgh is discovering if and where migrating birds are injured Downtown.  I learned at the kickoff meeting that accidents don't usually happen at the tops of skyscrapers.  Instead, most birds strike windows near street level when they become disoriented or confused by window reflections.

To assess the situation BirdSafe volunteers walk one of these eleven routes at dawn, looking for stunned or dead birds.  Stunned birds are rescued. All birds are counted.
BirdSafe Pittsburgh monitor routes (map from Matt Webb)

Participants have been pleasantly surprised at how beautiful and busy Downtown is at sunrise.  Terry Wiezorek didn't find any hurt birds last week in the Cultural District when migration was slow, but she did find helpful maintenance people who will keep a lookout and let her know.   This week Monday's increased migration tallied two dead birds and this rescued wood thrush that Matt Webb released at Allegheny Cemetery.  As Matt says, "One bird saved makes it all worth it!"

BirdSafe Pittsburgh needs more volunteers during this busy time.

Want to sample the project before you commit?  Meet the group at PPG Plaza on Monday mornings (next meeting: May 12) at 5:30am and walk a route with a BirdSafe volunteer.  It won't cost you anything because on-street parking is FREE Downtown until 8:00am.

Contact Matt Webb at (412)53-AVIAN (412-532-8426) or for more information.  He'd love to hear from you!


p.s. A big thank you to Terry for providing supplies for volunteers!

(BirdSafe Pittsburgh route map and rescued wood thrush photo by Matt Webb)

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Be A BirdSafe Volunteer”

  1. Matt Webbon 03 May 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Volunteers have found and rescued several more birds in the past 2 days, including an Ovenbird, several more Wood Thrush, a Kentucky Warbler, and a Magnolia Warbler! Thanks everyone!

  2. Rtbon 05 May 2014 at 11:51 am

    I had a scare on my porch over the weekend. I have a pair of mourning doves nesting in a hanging plant.
    This is their (I’m absolutely sure it’s the same doves) second nesting since the end of March. They are familiar with my porch. On Friday, my female Lilly arrived for her evening shift of sitting on the eggs. She stopped and stood on my porch railing as usual, except instead of flying up to the nest, I watched her fly head first, like she was taking off going somewhere, into my glass sliding door. She seemed to bounce off the glass and turned and flew off the porch. I waited in case she returned also watching the male on the eggs and my friend went to look for her. She was standing on the ground by the tree I saw her fly to. My friend slowly approached her, saying at first she seemed still but then started to walk away from him. Not wanting to upset or confuse her, he left after seeing she was in a safe place. He went back about a half hour later to check on her and noticed she was back up on my railing. By then it had been about an hour. I saw her fly up to the nest but her flying looked a little off. Yesterday she looked better, but I saw her turn for a split second looking like she was going to fly into the glass again. I’m not sure what is attracting her. There is nothing different. I have had doves fly into that door before (thankfully they’ve been fine) but only when a predator is near and they get spooked and fly backwards or when chasing each other. Never the way Lilly did and I’m nervous she’s going to do it again and not be so lucky the next time.

  3. Kate St. Johnon 05 May 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Rtb, here’s special tape that really keeps the mourning doves from making that mistake. Mourning doves used to hit my windows until I used the tape. Hope this helps! p.s. in the meantime you could put a fishnet over the glass so it looks “solid.”

  4. Marieon 05 May 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Hello!First of all,I was so thrilled to hear of Birdsafe and your efforts.Second since I live approximately 2 hours away,and due to work schedulecan’t be there unless it’s a Sunday.So please keep us posted.Meanwhile,love reading the blogs/experiences you are having! Now,have a question reg.a dead bird I found in my town about 3 weeks ago.It was on a semi busy street lying in the middle of the road.It was a It was pretty,black head with black wings on top&black back.But wings were trimmed with caramel and had caramel on it’s little head.It’s scruff was white.It was intact,so I’m guessing it got hit by a car.It was mid morning when I found it.It was on a road very close to a a large creek,so I picked it up &carried it into the grassy area in front of the creek,but against a reatiniing wall overhang where animals would be less likely to find and eat it.At least I hope so.Any ideas what kind it was?Thanks,Marie

  5. Marieon 05 May 2014 at 6:36 pm

    P.S.Is the number for Matt missing a digit?

  6. Kate St. Johnon 05 May 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Marie, the phone number has all its digits but the word Avian has to be split across the dash. I tried typing it as numbers. Hope I transcribed correctly!

  7. Rtbon 06 May 2014 at 11:22 pm


    Thank you for the help and link.


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