Type size - +
Personal tools
You are here: Home Wildlife Care Center Care Center Blog Barred Owl Collides with Apple Store in Downtown Portland

Barred Owl Collides with Apple Store in Downtown Portland

Posted by Ali Berman at Nov 06, 2017 08:10 PM |

On a chilly November night, a Barred Owl flew silently, navigating through the streets and around buildings, carrying a meal: a partially eaten rat. When the raptor approached the glassy facade of the Apple Store, it met the fate of so many other birds. The adult owl hit the window, and fell approximately 20 feet to the ground.

Barred Owl Collides with Apple Store in Downtown Portland

Barred Owl receives examination following a window collision

Name a bird you might see around Pioneer Place. A pigeon? House Sparrow? Crow? Absolutely. How about an owl? Not quite the image most people have in mind when they think of the wildlife they might spot next to the mall in one of the most heavily trafficked areas of downtown Portland. And yet, on a chilly November night, a Barred Owl flew silently, navigating through the streets and around buildings, carrying a meal: a partially eaten rat. When the raptor approached the glassy facade of the Apple Store, it met the fate of so many other birds. The adult owl hit the window, and fell approximately 20 feet to the ground. 

Apple Store in Downtown Portland
Apple Store in Downtown Portland - Photo by Deciare

The next morning, concerned staff at the Apple store gave the bird some privacy by surrounding it with chairs, and called the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for help. Susan Barnes from the ODFW arrived, approached the bird and saw that it was dazed and leaning to one side, unable to hold itself upright. She then put the stunned owl in a box and had a volunteer bring it to our Wildlife Care Center for treatment. Within a few days the owl was proving to be alert, with full range of motion, and no broken bones. And with a lot of fight. All good signs. However, window strike victims’ cases are difficult to predict. Many suffer internal damage from the impact which can be fatal. With time to heal, anti-inflammatories and other treatments, we are hopeful this bird will make a full recovery and be able to be released out into the wild. 

Barred Owl Examination

Almost everyone has a window strike story. They heard a loud thud, and then either found a dazed bird or a fatally wounded bird right below their window. It’s one of the most common injuries we see at the Wildlife Care Center, especially during migration. And that’s true across the country. Experts estimate that up to a billion birds die from window collisions each year. 

The Apple Store is illustrative of a trend that is dramatically increasing risks for birds. It was intentionally designed to be “invisible” with solid walls of uninterrupted glass. Birds are unable to recognize these structures as solid and high numbers of strikes are virtually assured. 

That’s why it’s so important for homes and businesses to champion bird-safe building designs and solutions. 

“The death toll from window strikes is staggering and it will only get worse if our cities do not adopt bird-safe build standards,” said Portland Audubon Conservation Director, Bob Sallinger. “As the public becomes more aware of this hazard, many cities are adopting bird-safe building requirements and it is time for Portland to do the same.” 

Currently, the Portland City Council is considering the Central City Plan which will guide development in the central city through 2035. The plan currently includes a requirement to use building designs which reduce hazards to birds. Please take a few minutes to email Portland City Council and let them know that you support bird-safe building requirements in the Central City Plan.

Click here to take action.

Document Actions
powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy