Condor’s Top Cited, #1: Birds vs. Windows

A Swainson’s Thrush killed by colliding with the window of a low-rise office building. Photo credit: Scott Loss

This week marks the end of our series of blog post highlighting both our journals’ top cited articles from 2014 and 2015. After counting down from number ten, today we reveal that The Condor‘s most cited paper from this time period was…

Bird–building collisions in the United States: Estimates of annual mortality and species vulnerability by S.R. Loss, T. Will, S.S. Loss, and P.P. Marra, from the February 2014 issue of The Condor: Ornithological Advances.

Loss and his colleagues reviewed the published literature and acquired unpublished datasets to systematically estimate annual bird mortality from window collisions in the U.S. and identify particularly vulnerable species. They found that 365–988 million birds are killed in such collisions each year, supporting the conclusion that building collision mortality is one of the top sources of human-caused bird mortality in the U.S. A large proportion of all mortality occurs at structures like houses that kill small numbers of birds on a per-building basis but make up a high percentage of all buildings, which suggests that achieving a large overall reduction in mortality will require mitigation measures to be applied across a large number of structures (not just high-rises).

For some species, including Golden-winged Warblers, Painted Buntings, Kentucky Warblers, and Canada Warblers, building collision mortality appears substantial enough to contribute to or exacerbate ongoing population declines. The authors suggest that a feasible long-term approach to reducing mortality would be the continued adaptation of Green Building certification standards to include bird collision risks.

Read the full paper at

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