200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 28: “Philly Birds Flock to the Academy ”

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Some of the local victims of window kills in the Academy's Ornithology Collection

Philly Birds Flock to the Academy

While our scientists gather many bird specimens on expeditions around the world, we also gather specimens closer to home. Each year, more than 100 million birds are killed in collisions with buildings, communication towers, and wind turbines. Though anecdotal information gathered over the last few decades suggests that “window kills” are not extremely common in Philadelphia, we have partnered with the Philadelphia Zoo and Audubon Pennsylvania to investigate window kills in Center City for the past few years. Our aim was to identify which buildings and what times of year pose the greatest danger to migrating birds and to attempt to mitigate this problem.

Voucher specimens are prepared, catalogued, and databased in the Academy's bird collection and are made available to researchers around to world who are working to answer a multitude of biological questions. Like many specimens in our collections, these birds came to the Academy for a specific project, but they can be studied for centuries to come.

Are you a history buff with a passion for science? Learn about the history of ornithology at the Academy.

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