Birds see glass as an opening rather than a surface. (Photo courtesy of CBCM)

Ready to earn some good eco cred? Here’s the mission: To save the lives of a lot of birds, one building at a time. (Not sure why that’s an important mission? You may not know that as many as 1 billion birds die every year due to building collisions in North America alone. For more on that, stay tuned for the full EcoMyth.)

The good news is there are some easy—and effective—ways to make our homes and offices safer for our feathered friends.

Please join us in taking the following advice from a true expert on the subject, Annette Prince, director of the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors (CBCM), a nonprofit volunteer project within the Chicago Audubon Society.

Block Birds’ View of the Interior of a Building and Reduce Dangerous Glass Reflections:

  • Extinguish or dim indoor lights that illuminate lobby areas from 11 p.m. until sunrise.
  • Draw drapes or close blinds.
  • Install external screens as a barrier to the surface of transparent or reflective glass.
  • Use bird safety glass such as Ornilux.
  • Cover outside surfaces of glass with window films.
  • Hang ribbons, banners, mobiles, windsocks in front of windows to divert birds from glass surfaces.
  • Cover outside surfaces of glass with temporary paints, soap, or spray starch.
  • Cover outside surface of glass with decals (lots of ’em—check Window Alert or Bird Tape for more info).
  • Move indoor plants away from locations directly next to windows.

Earn Extra Credit by Going a Little Further Afoot in Your Efforts:

  • Bring migratory bird safety to the attention of your community and local, state, and federal elected officials.
  • Support ordinances for light reduction and bird-safe building requirements in your city.
  • Ask for bird-safe window products from U.S. glass manufacturers.
  • Petition the owners or management of buildings where you live or work to make changes to reduce hazards for migratory birds, such as to extinguish or dim bright external display lighting (logos, advertising, spotlighting) on the tops of buildings from 11 p.m. until sunrise during spring and fall migration.
  • Contact CBCM for more information on bird-safe solutions or to volunteer.

Many thanks to Annette Prince for sharing this extremely useful information. And cheers to you for your interest in protecting birds—we’re in this thing together, after all!

One comment

  1. Window film is the best way to deal with bird collisions with windows. It serves as an effective bird deterrent and comes in a variety in different design and patterns so it is aesthetically pleasing. The good news is that there is now legislation in place in Ontario Canada that requires building to install Bird Film on their windows.


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