CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Editor's Note: Within this story, we have published a photo of deceased birds. Audience discretion is advised.
The UNC Charlotte Audubon Club said glass windows are the biggest threat to birds on their campus.
Hitting a building is the second most common reason a bird will die, according to recent studies. The top reason is being killed by a predator.
The studies suggest as many as one billion birds a year have died from crashing into buildings.
“It's an unnatural way for them to die," Ikechi Dimkpa, UNC Charlotte Audubon Club President, said.
Dimkpa, who is the head of the club that monitors and advocates for the bird population, explained it's more than just a problem for birds.
"Usually if a bird is hunted by a predator, that's relatively okay, because the predators need to consume their food in order to reproduce and continue that whole sort of ecosystem there," she said.
When the birds die, they could alter the food chain by removing a natural predator of insects.
“If not enough of the rodents and bugs are killed, they might consume too many plants," she said. "And when I have a lack of plants, and that actually becomes an issue."
On the campus, the aubudon club members quantify the danger by recording the number of dead and injured birds.
“So this building is now starting to rack up a lot more bird deaths," Dimkpa told WCNC Charlotte's Shamarria Morrison.
Dimkpa said buildings are particularly dangerous because of windows, which reflect the look of trees and skies. Birds mistake the windows as a safe path forward.