Ecology, endemism, and conservation status of birds that collide with glass windows in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Worldwide, billions of birds die annually due to window collisions. Nevertheless, few accounts document bird-window collisions in the Neotropics. In this study, we document species that collided with windows in Monteverde, Costa Rica, and describe their ecological and conservation status. We gathered information from different sources, including data from museum records and accounts by Monteverde residents who participated as “citizen scientists” between May 2014 and December 2017. We conducted carcass searches between March 2015 and February 2016. We classified window-strike species by migratory, forest dependence, trophic guild, weight, abundance, conservation, and endemism status. We registered 103 species striking windows in Monteverde, which includes 98 of 267 species known to occur in three life zones in Monteverde and five not registered in the area. Window strike casualties’ frequencies differed by species, trophic guild and migratory status. Most window victims were residents, small, insectivorous, considered common or fairly common, with declining population trends. The families with the most species represented were Parulidae (14 spp.), Trochilidae (13 spp.), Turdidae (10 spp.), and Tyrannidae (9 spp.). Most species were passerines (Order Passeriformes) (71 spp.). No hawks or vultures were found colliding with buildings. The three species most commonly killed by windows were frugivores: Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus), Northern Emerald-Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus), and Black-faced Solitaire (Myadestes melanops). Among window-kills were five species whose status on the IUCN Red List are Near Threatened and one Vulnerable, including the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) and the Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculatus). Six species are listed as in danger of extinction and four are listed as species with reduced populations by the National System of Conservation Areas for Costa Rica (SINAC). 12 endemic species are strike casualties. The premontane wet forest is the life zone where more species were found (n=64 spp.), followed by the premontane moist forest (n = 49 spp.) and the lower montane wet forest (n = 31 spp.). These findings demonstrate the urgent need for conservation measures to mitigate bird mortality due to window collisions. Promoting use of methods to protect birds from windows should be an important goal for this IBA and the rest of Costa Rica. We also recommend collecting data in order to increase understanding about bird window collisions.