University News

WIU Quad Cities Campus Takes Steps to Protect Migratory Birds

September 20, 2019


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MOLINE, IL – A unique initiative at Western Illinois University's Quad Cities Campus is making campus enhancements to protect migratory birds.

The Moline, IL campus is located right on the Mississippi River, which is a critical corridor for migrating birds. Because of this, the University has started putting up bird-friendly window coverings to reduce the number of collisions with campus windows. The front of the Quad Cities Campus is almost entirely windows.

The window coverings were the suggestion of WIU Biological Sciences Professor Brian Peer, who conducts extensive academic research on a variety of birds.

The covering was installed by University maintenance staff.

"In an attempt to reduce bird collisions with windows on campus, WIU will be comparing the effectiveness of Feather Friendly window applications with traditional falcon silhouettes," said Peer. "The latter have been used because some falcons hunt small birds and the belief is that this will scare birds away from the windows. To date, no studies have rigorously tested the effectiveness of the falcon silhouettes."

A student from Pleasant Valley Junior High School is also working with Peer to test the effectiveness of the new window treatments as part of a science fair project.

Peer added that birds are especially vulnerable to striking windows at night, a time when many birds migrate. The WIU study comes on the heels of a paper published this week in the journal Science that reports North America has lost three billion birds since 1970.

"Our initiative is a potential preventative measure to help curb these losses," said Peer.

WIU Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning and Initiatives Joe Rives said the change is important in keeping with the University's core values.

"We take great pride in our University's value of social responsibility, and corresponding actions to engage in environmental leadership and stewardship," he said. "Protecting the bird population, and our ecosystem, is another great example of how Western Illinois University serves as a valued partner to our host community, region and beyond. This idea was the result of faculty and staff advocacy and I thank them for their work."

For more information on WIU's Quad Cities campus, visit wiu.edu/qc.

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (JK-Pospeschil@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations