Why Are Birds Committing Mass Suicide on Temple Campus?

More than 1,000 so far this year.

The Temple News reports on mass aviacide on the university’s main campus: “The Audubon Pennsylvania Society and Temple’s grounds department estimate more than 1,000 birds have died on Main Campus in 2013, mostly after flying into buildings. The university has spent years trying to figure out how to stop it.”

In fact, the paper reports, a 2008 study revealed “the university was one of the central locations for bird deaths in Philadelphia.”

“We started asking people for information about where they knew in downtown Philly that there were birds colliding with buildings,” said Keith Russell, the bird census and science and outreach coordinator for the Audubon Society. “The one place that we kept hearing about more than any other place was Temple.”

Together with Glenn Eck, the superintendent of Temple’s grounds crew, Valerie Peckham, conservation program manager at the Philadelphia Zoo and The Academy of Natural Sciences, Russell was able to pinpoint places on campus where deaths seem occur the most. The TECH Center, Beury Hall, Alter Hall, Ritter Hall and the passageway connecting Paley Library and Tuttleman Learning Center are where the team found the largest areas of concern for bird safety.

University officials are trying netting over some buildings, a dimpled glass—to create a visual cue to the birds—and other techniques to slow down the slaughter. The university has even enlisted art students to the cause.  “We’re hoping we can start with this, can encourage other places on campus to be interested in doing something like this, because there is so much bird collision activity around campus,” Russell said.