Lights Out Baltimore
In 2009, I began volunteering with Lights Out Baltimore (LOB), a bird conservation/citizen science/wildlife rescue organization. LOB seeks to make Baltimore safe for migratory birds by encouraging downtown buildings to turn off nonessential lighting during migration. Volunteers monitor collisions in the city during the spring and fall collecting fatalities and logging strike data--date/location/species--as well as transporting injured birds to a wildlife rehabilitator. The dead birds are donated to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum to be used for research or museum specimens.
Since 2010, I have taken photographs of several of the fatalities we've collected. I think of them as portraits honoring the loss of individuals and this intention has been influenced by memorial photography.
As many as a billion birds are dying annually in the United States from building collisions. Songbirds and shorebirds that migrate at night to avoid predators navigate by the moon and starlight, as well as the earth's magnetic field.
Disorienting light pollution, bright white and yellow light, attracts birds into urban environments where they encounter a maze of invisible barriers, glass. Birds perceive the world differently than we do. The songbirds that we often find have less depth perception and their eyes are placed more laterally. Windows either show what appears to be a clear pathway or a reflective surface that looks real. Only by breaking up large panes of glass with designs that follow a 2" horizontally or 4" vertically oriented rule, can we achieve bird-friendly glass. It's generally the first thirty feet from the ground upward that is problematic.
I hope to inspire bird-friendly building design.