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Outside/In: Dead bird rabbit hole

Dead birds stored in the freezer at NYC Audubon, in Manhattan.
Taylor Quimby
Dead birds stored in the freezer at NYC Audubon in Manhattan.

Every December, during the Christmas Bird Count, tens of thousands of volunteers look to the skies for an international census of wild birds.

But during migration season, a much smaller squad of New York City volunteers take on a more sobering experience: counting dead birds that have collided with glass buildings and fallen back to Earth.

In this episode, we find out what kind of people volunteer for this grisly job, visit the New York City rehab center that takes in injured pigeons, and find out how to stop glass from killing an estimated one billion birds nationwide every year.

A screenshot from Melissa Breyer's Instagram account, Sad Birding
Melissa Breyer
A screenshot from Melissa Breyer's Instagram account, Sad Birding


Want to see the migration forecast? Check out Birdcast.

Want to be a citizen scientist and report dead birds? Check out dBird.

Want to see volunteer Melissa Breyer’s photos of dead birds? Check out Sad Birding.

More about Project Safe Flight.

Taylor Quimby is Supervising Senior Producer of the environmental podcast Outside/In, Producer/Reporter/Host of Patient Zero, and Senior Producer of the serialized true crime podcast Bear Brook.
Outside/In is a show where curiosity and the natural world collide. Click here for podcast episodes and more.
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