Sad News: Blue is Dead

If you look closely at the mark on this fifth floor window of Craig Hall you can see it’s the shape of a bird with long wings.  In fact it’s the shape of a peregrine, one of the young peregrines who hatched at the Cathedral of Learning this spring.

Sadly, “Blue” died instantly at 9:15am when he hit this window and broke his neck.  His imprint tells the tale.

At 9:20 I received a call from Anne Marie Bosnyak who works next door at the University Technology Development Center.  Someone in her building had seen the accident happen.  Using binoculars from a second floor window, they could see his body on Craig Hall’s lower roof.  They weren’t sure if it was a peregrine… but they thought so.

Even though I knew he was dead I rushed over to Anne Marie’s office to make sure.

Poor Blue.  He didn’t know what hit him.  He saw the endless sky reflected in the glass.  He thought there was a gap that he could fly through but it was an illusion.  All mirrors.

As I’ve said before, windows kill.

Windows kill more birds than windmills do.

Sadly, they kill young peregrines.

(photos by Kate St. John)

21 thoughts on “Sad News: Blue is Dead

  1. May he fly safe with Horus now. It’s hard not to cry. Each and every year you know this can happen, all I can do is hope for the best, but that’s not enough. I hope his brothers saw and now know the dangers that are there. Fly free my sweet peregrine.

  2. I’m so sorry about blue Kate. I hate those reflective glass windows too. We lost one of ours this year and last year to the same thing and every time I ask myself why we persist in using this type of glass when it kills so many birds.

    To me it’s a senseless death, Blue didn’t do anything wrong – in fact he was doing everything right – he died because humans want floor to ceiling views of the sky even if it means killing everything that flies in it.

    1. One of the big mysteries to me about this incident is that Blue hit a building that isn’t obviously reflective. The windows are very dark glass. It’s not a building I thought a peregrine would hit.

  3. This is my first year following these babies…….I am so sad today. Is there something that can be done? So sad.

  4. Poor baby. Maybe he was following prey – it’s just so hard to know.

    Like the others, I prefer to have an interest in prevention so we don’t have to mourn.

  5. Tracy, there are lots of tips on this blog from 2008 (written the first time I experienced a Pitt peregrine dying by hitting a window):

    It would help if LEED certification (green-building, sustainability) required bird-safe windows. At least new buildings would be safer.

    And… I would dearly love to see someone make it their personal mission to make Pittsburgh safer for birds: A group called FLAP got the lights turned off during migration in NYC and Toronto. If only Pittsburgh would do it!

  6. Peter, thanks for the link. I had no idea! It just proves that humans (at least I) don’t see things the way birds do.

  7. I read an article many years ago in (I believe) Bird Watcher’s Digest that said that birds that hit windows do not break their necks, but rather die of head injuries.

    Don’t know if that’s the case here or not.


  8. It seems to me that a few years ago a building in Toronto mounted bunting or flags or something because there were young falcons around. Probably not very elegant, but if it saves lives who cares about elegant.

  9. So, so sad to see them grow up only to be killed by their love of open sky. It breaks my heart.

    Agreed about the LEED certification. It should be required since the idea of a LEED building–whether silver, gold, or platinum–is to preserve nature and leave the surroundings as good as or better than when there was no building at all! I would talk to the Green Business Alliance in Pittsburgh. They might be able to help… maybe in conjunction with some nudging from the interested public?

  10. Rob, regarding “birds that hit windows do not break their necks, but rather die of head injuries.”
    I imagine this is certainly true for smaller birds. Among the juvenile peregrines I have held after death-by-window I know they broke their necks (wobbly-head or neck-completely compressed).

    Either trauma is possible. It hardly matters which one it is.

  11. I just found out about Blue. I am so sorry to hear about this. May he be in Peregrine heaven now. Night night Blue, God bless you. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *