As of August 2020, LSU Library has been serving as experimental testing ground for a study on bird mortality.
The School of Renewable Natural Resources’ Philip Stouffer, Professor in the College of Agriculture, and Jordan Mouton, undergraduate researcher, are testing potential prevention methods to mitigate bird deaths due to collisions with windows on campus buildings. They modeled this project on work done by Oklahoma State University Bird-window Collision Project and the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) Bird-window Collisions Project, which consisted of an international team of 60 researchers capturing data on bird mortality by monitoring 300 buildings across 40 college and university campuses in North America in 2014.
The motivation behind these projects is that there are a lot of campus buildings with design features like alcoves and large backlighted windows that are hazardous for birds. According to Stouffer, the library was chosen as the study’s testing ground due to the support of the dean and the volume of baseline data regarding bird mortality surrounding the building. Other buildings on campus also have a high rate of mortality, which depending on the results of the study, Stouffer and his team will attempt to mitigate.
LSU’s Campus Sustainability Office approved a grant for 4″x 4″ window decals to be attached to the library’s windows. These decals are designed to reflect light to deter the birds with only minimal coverage of the window. With the decals applied, Stouffer and Mouton will compare the rates of bird mortality with this spring and fall to that observed in 2019.
Two websites are available with instruction for those who are interested signing up to sample buildings following Stouffer and Mouton’s protocol. Mouton has created a website for the LSU Bird-Window Collison Project, which contains building data and the survey information and protocol. The research project is also hosted on iNaturalist.