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How STLPR hopes to save birds from deadly window strikes

Common yellowthroats are among the birds that have been killed in window strikes in St. Louis.
Becky Matsubara
Common yellowthroats are among the birds that have been killed in window strikes in St. Louis.

Each year, an estimated 1 billion birds are killed when they crash into windows. It’s a particularly acute problem each spring and fall in St. Louis, when the region becomes a way station for thousands of migratory birds.

Listen to Greg Munteanu and Ken Buchholz on St. Louis on the Air

For years now, St. Louis Public Radio staffers have documented the harm done to birds that crash into the station’s building in Grand Center. And for Give STL Day, the station is raising funds to mitigate the toll, with plans to purchase and install window decals that break up the reflections that confuse birds.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, mid-day host Greg Munteanu discussed how the staff-driven campaign began, while Ken Buchholz, director of the Audubon Society at Riverlands, shared what he’s learned about making buildings bird-safe.

“We know it can work because these are not complex solutions,” Buchholz said. “We're talking about putting stickers on windows. We're talking about leaving blinds closed and turning off lights for the most part. So anyone can do this at a home or in an office building.”

Buchholz said the assessment his nonprofit did for STLPR’s building is the first — but he hopes it won’t be the last. Munteanu echoed that thought. “I really want this to spread out across St. Louis,” he said.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Emily Woodbury, Kayla Drake, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Sarah Fenske served as host of St. Louis on the Air from July 2019 until June 2022. Before that, she spent twenty years in newspapers, working as a reporter, columnist and editor in Cleveland, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and St. Louis.