In the Fall of 2020, I began collecting migratory bird data and specimens for the Yale Peabody Museum ornithology collections, along with Evolutionary Ecologist Andis Arietta and the Yale Law School Executive Director of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program, Viveca Morris. The goal of this project is to gather data about bird mortality due to collisions, to identify buildings that are killing birds frequently, and to use this data to advocate for mitigation action to prevent future deaths. At the Yale School of Management alone, a 225,000-square-foot almost entirely glass building, more than 250 dead birds of over 50 species were found in just two years. Collecting dead birds every day is heartbreaking, but it inspired me to make sketches and paintings of the birds in hopes of spreading awareness. It is estimated that over one billion birds in the U.S. die each year due to collisions with windows, but many cities are starting to require that new buildings follow bird-safe design. The City of New Haven is in fact now considering bird-friendly design legislation efforts thanks to the data we collected.
This painting features the male and female Yellow warbler, of whom we found many dead. I positioned them facing two directions to symbolize the spring and fall migrations, when they pass through Connecticut. The Yale School of Management’s glass facade reflects the sky behind them.