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Uncategorized Bird flying in window

Published on July 14th, 2009 | by Bryan Nelson

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New Glass Prevents Birds From Colliding with Windows

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July 14th, 2009 by
 
Bird flying in window

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.

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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.

Source: HighBeam Research, via Mongabay

Image Credit: dbrulz123 on Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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About the Author

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 Hawaii.



  • Roger Moreland

    unusual but 2 birds hit my house windows today on North & West.

  • http://brazilbrat.blogspot.com/ James Smith, João Pessoa, Brazil

    wtf needs health care reform. His mental health is obviously in a sad state. Or maybe he’s just stupid? No cure for that, is there?

  • http://brazilbrat.blogspot.com/ James Smith, João Pessoa, Braz

    wtf needs health care reform. His mental health is obviously in a sad state. Or maybe he’s just stupid? No cure for that, is there?

  • wtf

    “the needless deaths of billions of birds which collide with windows annually”

    Billions?! hahahahaha Next it will be that the birds need healthcare reform. lol

  • wtf

    “the needless deaths of billions of birds which collide with windows annually”

    Billions?! hahahahaha Next it will be that the birds need healthcare reform. lol

    • Bob_Wallace

      This piece of dumbness was posted long ago, but just in case someone stumbles onto it.

      Annual US window bird kill is around 1 billion.  Windows last for many decades.  Fixing the invisibility problem would save the life of many billions of birds.

  • Travis Windleharth

    Actually, the retrofit market for modern, high-tech solar control window films and insulated glass units (IGUs) is already large and growing. Simply piggy back this technology on the already expansive retrofit market. And actually,UV blocking layers are already becoming standard so in the future no special action will be required.

    FYI the U.S. Department of Energy backs window retrofits because they are very effective with a short return on investment. Done correctly there are economic savings here.

  • Travis Windleharth

    Actually, the retrofit market for modern, high-tech solar control window films and insulated glass units (IGUs) is already large and growing. Simply piggy back this technology on the already expansive retrofit market. And actually,UV blocking layers are already becoming standard so in the future no special action will be required.

    FYI the U.S. Department of Energy backs window retrofits because they are very effective with a short return on investment. Done correctly there are economic savings here.

  • http://ACO.muhlenberg.edu Peter

    Well, like it or not and believe it or not, research supports all of this and this developement is good news. If you care for more information visit the web site (http://ACO.muhlenberg.edu) and go to the “birds and windows” link. You can learn why there are not piles of birds lying around and just why this is an important problem to solve.

    Science has a way of proving things true or false.

  • http://ACO.muhlenberg.edu Peter

    Well, like it or not and believe it or not, research supports all of this and this developement is good news. If you care for more information visit the web site (http://ACO.muhlenberg.edu) and go to the “birds and windows” link. You can learn why there are not piles of birds lying around and just why this is an important problem to solve.

    Science has a way of proving things true or false.

  • M

    Yes lets spend that money to retrofit windows. Idiots

  • M

    Yes lets spend that money to retrofit windows. Idiots

    • Bob_Wallace

      Works for me.  Cut UV transmission and you keep heat out in the summer and heat in in the winter.

      And you reduce bird kill by a billion or so per year.

      (Who’s the idiot?)

  • Jim Riddell

    Are we really expected to believe that there are *BILLIONS* of birds that die by flying into windows? I’ve seen many buildings with a lot of glass and never seen the piles of birds that must be there if the numbers are even close to true.

    If one assumes the size of a bird is two cubic inches (i.e. a House Wren, aka English sparrow) then a billion bird bodies would end up being 1.1 million cubic feet. That’s a lot. Maybe they are all hummingbirds?

  • Jim Riddell

    Are we really expected to believe that there are *BILLIONS* of birds that die by flying into windows? I’ve seen many buildings with a lot of glass and never seen the piles of birds that must be there if the numbers are even close to true.

    If one assumes the size of a bird is two cubic inches (i.e. a House Wren, aka English sparrow) then a billion bird bodies would end up being 1.1 million cubic feet. That’s a lot. Maybe they are all hummingbirds?

    • Bob_Wallace

      One billion per year.  Over many years – the life of the window.

  • http://kirkn.spaces.live.com/ Kirk J Nason

    Great article, I need this info to help support my efforts to get the City of Huntington Beach, CA to modify their building permit process fwd for urban wind.

  • http://kirkn.spaces.live.com/ Kirk J Nason

    Great article, I need this info to help support my efforts to get the City of Huntington Beach, CA to modify their building permit process fwd for urban wind.

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