Birds are faced with a multitude of hazards year-round, but few are more dangerous than artificial light at night and glass, which can cause birds to collide with windows and other human-made structures. The Bird Safe Philly partnership aims to create safe spaces for birds through developing awareness of the issue of bird collisions related to the built environment and working in partnership with the Philadelphia community to implement solutions to prevent collisions.
Who We Are
Bird Safe Philly is a partnership led by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Audubon Mid-Atlantic, Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, National Audubon Society, Valley Forge Audubon Society, and Wyncote Audubon Society. The partnership is designed to help protect native birds in the Philadelphia area from a variety of issues that can harm birds in urban areas, especially issues that can cause birds to collide with buildings and other human made structures. Bird Safe Philly was created in response to a mass collision event that occurred on October 2, 2020 in which thousands of migratory birds died after colliding with buildings in Center City Philadelphia.
Explore the different ways our organizations are working together to better understand and prevent collisions around the Philadelphia region and the various ways residents, business leaders, and decision makers can get involved.
as a Key Site
Despite the fact that Philadelphia is the 6th largest city in the U.S. and home to over 1.5 millions people, it is also a city where over 300 species of birds can be found each year from eagles to hummingbirds. This impressive number of bird species is drawn to the city because of the large variety of natural habitats that exist in Philadelphia and have also been protected from development in the form of parks, preserves, wildlife refuges, arboretums, and other natural spaces, along with a broad array of novel habitats create by humans that many bird species are learning to use.
Because many species of birds are migratory, the number and variety of bird species that occur in Philadelphia changes throughout the year. While some RESIDENT species like the Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Wren are mostly or completely non migratory, Philadelphia also hosts three types of migratory species that occur at different times of the year. SUMMER RESIDENTS like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Chimney Swift, and Green Heron only spend the summer in Philadelphia and depart to spend the winter months in the southern U.S., or various sections of Mexico and Central America, the West Indies, or South America. WINTER RESIDENTS like the Dark-eyed Junco, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Canvasback come to Philadelphia to spend the winter months but depart to spend the summer months in other parts of the northern U.S. or various parts of Canada. TRANSIENTS like the Blackpoll Warbler, Least Sandpiper, or Bonaparte’s Gull usually only occur in Philadelphia while they are migrating between their breeding areas north of Philadelphia and their wintering areas south of Philadelphia.
The largest number of individual birds and variety of species generally occur each year during the spring migration (mid-February through early June) and the fall migration (late July through late November), but the number and variety of migratory birds that occur during fall is always larger than the number and variety that occur during the spring.
Although migrating birds occur in all but the most remote sections of North America migrating birds are generally thought to concentrate in numbers along four broad pathways called the Atlantic, Mississippi Central and Pacific flyways. Research studies and on the ground, observations have shown that Philadelphia lies on a heavily used section of the Atlantic Flyway. In one study that involved the use of short-range radar, over 735,000 individual birds were detected migrating through just a one square kilometer area in North Philadelphia over a 13-day period in late September of 2012. Weather radar has also shown that tens of millions of migrating birds can pass through the city in a single month, and that these birds stop to rest and feed in our natural spaces in huge numbers, especially in our parks. Because Philadelphia is a key location that so many of North America’s migratory birds pass through each spring and fall any hazards that can kill large numbers of these birds could directly impact the entire populations of many bird species.
One of the reasons that Bird Safe Philly was created was to help reduce significant hazards that harm large numbers of birds that migrate through the Philadelphia area.