One of the biggest threats to birds is something they can’t even see: windows.
We’ve written about this before, but a recent study estimates anywhere between 365 and 988 million birds die each year from flying into windows. The range may be huge, but that’s far too many.
The bad news? Glass buildings are becoming even more popular these days for architectures.
The good news? A growing industry is emerging around new glass technology to minimize these bird crashes.
According to an article in the NY Times this week, researchers are trying to discover the best way make glass visible to birds. This comes on the heel of more people interested in making the skies safe for birds. This includes San Francisco, which has adopted bird-safety standards to new buildings.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
At the far end were the adjacent glass panels, illuminated by a daylight simulator. One panel was familiar transparent glass, which contributes to the demise of hundreds of millions of birds who fly into it each year in the United States. The other was bird-friendly glass, featuring white vertical stripes that are supposed to serve as a kind of avian stop sign.
“I’m hoping it flies,” [William] Haffey, [an ecology student at Fordham University], said. (The previous test subject, a white-throated sparrow, had simply hopped around inside the tunnel, looking confused.)
But the yellow-rumped warbler, affectionately called a “butter butt” by birders, flew straight through the tunnel and decisively avoided the bird-safe glass, the desired result.
The group is basically experimenting with putting white vertical stripes on the window and part of what they’re trying to figure out is how far apart the lines can be for it to be effective.
This is definitely a great and easy method for improving glass visibility to birds, but it’s not clear whether people will adopt the glass because of the clearly visible lines.
Another technology that’s been around for a few years is glass windows with lines barely visible to humans but highly visible to birds. This option is far more expensive, however.
Regardless of what these coming years bring, it’s great groups are finally looking to develop technology that will save millions of birds.
If you find birds are constantly crashing into your windows, check out our post about preventing that from happening.