A new exterior film for glass has been developed which can be seen by birds but not humans. It could be used to help prevent the needless deaths of billions of birds which collide with windows annually.
Collisions with windows are estimated to be the most common cause of bird death worldwide aside from habitat loss. The numbers of deaths are staggering, outranking deaths by domestic cat, hunting, vehicular collisions, and wind turbine accidents combined. Thus, preventing bird-window collisions could be the simplest way to significantly reduce bird fatality around the world.
As reported by The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, and discovered by researcher Daniel Klem Jr., the best window covering for the job was an exterior film with evenly spaced ultraviolet UV-reflecting and UV-absorbing patterns. Aside from preventing bird collisions and being transparent to humans, the new glass covering is also cheap to produce, and due to its UV-reflecting properties it may even help prevent sunburn.
The next step is to make it a permanent coating for sheet glass used in new construction. But until then, the research also illustrated a number of other easy ways you can help prevent bird collisions without replacing your windows. You can dim your lights at night, or better yet– cover them up. There’s not much to see after the sun goes down anyway, and you’ll save a lot on your electricity bills by dimming those lights. There are also a number of landscaping and architectural changes you can make too, such as eliminating trees and shrubs from areas in front of windows, and minimizing ground cover. Furthermore, birds are more likely to collide with windows during the Fall and Spring, during their seasonal migrations.
“When this film is available for use it will save billions of bird lives annually after existing windows are retrofitted worldwide,” said Klem.
Bryan Nelson has been making up for lost time since finishing his graduate degree in Philosophy by traveling and working to change the world. He has worked with groups like The Sierra Club, Environment America & U.S. PIRG, Environment Oregon & OSPIRG, and Progressive Future on local and national political campaigns. His environmental journalism can be found throughout the web, which also includes regular contributions to MNN.com. Between adventure and activism, he currently can be found doing freelance writing from his home in Portland, Oregon.