These volunteers are from many different backgrounds—bankers, psychologists, teachers, activists, retirees—but they all believe our City’s birds deserve better protection. They wake up at the crack of dawn and head to some of Manhattan’s most problematic glass buildings to search for dead and injured birds. Injured birds are brought to animal care centers or rehabilitators and are released in the wild after their recovery. Dead birds are collected and transferred to various natural history museums and research institutions.
All the collected birds (dead or injured) are entered in NYC Audubon's D-bird.org database, providing a powerful tool for understanding the geography and dynamics of urban bird collisions. With this science-based knowledge, we can effectively advocate for bird-friendly building design. Neither glamorous nor easy work, PSF volunteers are motivated to participate in the name of science, knowing their diligent data collection will be instrumental in making the City a safer place for our birds.
Over the course of last spring, I had the pleasure of accompanying and documenting PSF volunteers on their morning routes as they carried out their meticulous and vital work. The photographs in this piece offer a glimpse into the lives and work of these stalwart PSF volunteers, who are critical in helping NYC Audubon understand the causes of bird collisions in New York City.