September 20, 2018 6:42 pm
Updated: September 21, 2018 8:05 am

U of M staff and students use artwork to prevent fatal bird collisions

WATCH: Researchers estimate millions of birds are killed each year by flying into windows in Canada. Joe Scarpelli explains why it's inspired some U of M students to paint.


A group of bird researchers and artists at the University of Manitoba are painting campus windows in the hope of lowering the number of birds killed each year.

A number of windows that have been identified as being in high-risk areas are being decorated with liquid chalk and window decals.

READ MORE: Provincial vet office testing dead pelicans found near pond in Winnipeg

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“Recent research has shown that about 25 million birds a year are killed by windows in Canada, which is a very surprising and staggering number,” biology professor Kevin Fraser told Global News Thursday.

Fraser said dead birds are found on campus on a daily basis. A big reason, he said, is because birds can’t tell the difference between a real tree and a reflection.

“They’re seeing vegetation and trees that they want to go forage in, reflected in our campus windows and that mirror image is drawing them to fly towards it, thinking that they’re going to the next tree,” Fraser said.

Undergrad student Ashley Pidwerbesky said the fall season is an important time of year to protect birds.

“We are currently in the peak migration season, so we’ve been seeing more window kills in this time than we have throughout the summer,” Pidwerbesky  said.

READ MORE: Are your windows killing birds? How to prevent collisions

The group hopes to not only save birds on campus, but to inspire homeowners to decorate their windows as well.

“You can do it with soap on your window,” STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, Mathematics) coordinator Seema Goel said.

“Make some ghosts for Halloween if you want.”

The team hopes to expand the project in the coming years, after testing how well different materials last and how effective they are.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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