Biology Department Faculty

Introduction to the issue

In 1979 a young PhD student finished his dissertation explaining the high mortality caused by sheet glass and how using a 2 x 4" pattern on the glass could all but eliminate the problem. Some 37 plus years later, Dr. Daniel Klem, Jr. is still trying to get the word out to the general population. Finally, companies are working on various methods to solve the problem, but really, nothing has changed, the 2 x 4" rule still is the best solution.

Clear and reflective sheet glass as window panes in homes or entire walls of multistory commercial buildings is a passive invisible killer of wild birds worldwide. Among the dead are the abundant as well as the rare, threatened, and endangered species. Investigators have gathered extensive evidence documenting sheet glass as a growing source of avian mortality, and a suspected contributor to overall bird population declines. Preventing these unintended fatalities will require education addressing preventive techniques, regulation addressing the installation of glass in buildings, and enforcement of existing legislation to protect wild birds as an aesthetic and environmentally valuable natural resource. For more infromation on why this happens, how serious it really is, and some ideas on how to prevent it, visit the following site and view the 19 minute video:

‌One of our goals is to compile a complete world list of all the avian species documented to strike sheet glass or plastic. For obvious reasons it would be best to gather all individual strike data, but this is impractical due to limited manpower, therefore our first step is to build the species list for each country, state, province, or territory. To this end, we request information primarily for only those species missing from a country list. There is a standard down-loadable PDF report form‌ on our web site that can be used to document a strike, an on-line submission form, or simply send the pertinent data in a letter, to include both common English and scientific names, date, location (city, county, state, country), and contact information in case of the need for clarification of any of the details.

Much of the original international database was collected during studies conducted in the early 1990's, before the Web evolved into what it is today. The species information gathered was entered into a computer data base by research students, using Sibley and Monroe 1990 as the template for both common and scientific names, as well as the taxonomic order using the integrated numbering system.

This original data base was reviewed country by country and the species lists organized using Gill and Wright, Birds of the World, recommended English names, 2006. As of 2016, the lists are being changed to the Handbook of the Birds of the World, Alive.