SUMMER2008/VOLUME 22, NUMBER 3
Make Your Windows Safer for Birds
More birds are killed from striking windows than any other single direct cause of death each year. Windows kill at least 100 million and as many as one billion birds in the United States annually, and the problem is growing as window sizes increase and houses grow larger. There are several ways we can make our own windows safer for birds. Things that can help birds avoid collisions or minimize the risk of being hurt include (listed roughly from most to least effective):
• Cover the glass with a one-way transparent film that permits people on the inside to see out, but makes the window appear opaque on the outside. You can find information about the best available products on the Fatal Light Awareness Program website. The best product currently available, called “CollidEscape,” is marketed by Large Format Digital. When you buy this product, part of the cost goes to support FLAP. Make sure these kinds of products are mounted on the OUTSIDE of the glass.
• Place vertical exterior tape strips on the glass, set not more than 10 cm apart, or mark the glass with permanent paint in the same way.
• Install external shutters which are kept closed when you’re not in the room or taking advantage of the light or view.
• Install external sun shades or awnings on windows.
• On new construction or when putting in new windows, angle the glass downward, so it doesn’t reflect sky and trees.
• Use interior vertical blinds with the slats half open
•Soap the window on the outside.
• Put decals, sun catchers, mylar strips, or other objects on the window—better on the outer surface.
If none of these methods work, David Sedaris found a solution that worked for him.
Important: If you live or work in a tall building, turn off unneeded lights and keep your shades drawn at night, especially during migration.
For more information:
• Audubon At Home: Minimizing Window Collisions
• Fatal Light Awareness Program information about safest window covering
• Wisconsin Humane Society "Be an Avian Advocate"
• US Fish and Wildlife Service: Clear the Way for Birds
• US Fish and Wildlife Service: The Danger of Plate Glass
• Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative: Collisions and Birds
• Daniel Klem’s important paper, “Bird-Window Collisions,” (originally published in The Wilson Bulletin, 101(4), 1989, pp. 606-620).
• Dr. Klem’s paper, “Collisions between Birds and Windows: Mortality and Prevention,” (originally published in the Journal of Field Ornithology, 1990, 61(l):120-128).
• The Fatal Light Awareness Project has a great deal of information about bird mortality at lighted windows on their website.
• Rob Fergus, director of Audubon At Home, has lots of information about this and other issues on his own blog.
• Bird-protecting screening is manufactured by The Bird Screen Company .
• Bird Conservation Network: Windows and Birds
• Chicago Bird Collision Monitors
• Birds and Buildings: Creating a Safer Environment
• Daniel Klem, Jr., David C. Keck, Karl L. Marty, Amy J. Miller Ball, Elizabeth E. Niciu, and Corry T. Platt. Effects of Window Angling, Feeder Placement, and Scavengers on Avian Mortality at Plate Glass. The Wilson Bulletin, Vol. 116 No. 1, March 2004.
For permission to reprint all or part of this article, please contact Laura Erickson, editor, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY, 14850. Phone: (607) 254-1114. email: firstname.lastname@example.org