Hundreds of millions of birds die every year flying straight into windows. The locals – pigeons and seagulls – aren’t as vulnerable but migrating songbirds routinely slam into glass, lured by the reflections. Today, project By Design looks at how the creation of glass with hidden patterns is saving one songbird at a time.
It’s been estimated that as many as one billion birds are killed in North America each year flying into windows. Most are song birds. This is peak season for such deaths, the annual fall migration south.
Project By Design, is taking a look at some of the experiments and innovations underway to design bird friendlier glass and architecture. Skyscrapers can be killing grounds for birds, but the vast majority of deaths are from collisions with the windows of homes.
To better understand why, the University of Alberta in Edmonton, has begun a ‘Birds and Windows Project‘. More than 800 homeowners from across North America are signed up to document bird collisions at their homes and send the data to the University. One of those taking part is retired Edmonton teacher and bird lover, Robert Davidson.
While our homes may be bird death traps, cities are particularly lethal for migratory birds. With its location on the shores of Lake Ontario,Toronto sits smack in the middle of the annual migration routes.
Michael Mesure became so upset with the carnage, he created an organization called FLAP, the Fatal Light Awareness Program. He joined us in Toronto.
Christine Sheppard is the Bird Collisions Campaign Manager with the American Bird Conservancy in New York.
Here are some photos of Michael Mesure with volunteers from FLAP in Toronto and Christine Sheppard at the Bronx Zoo with their efforts to save birds.