Window Pain

Birds Die Flying Into Reflective Glass


One night earlier this year, nearly 400 birds migrating north from Central and South America died in the midst of a storm from slamming into the 23-story American National Insurance Company skyscraper in Galveston, Texas. Among the victims were Nashville warblers, yellow warblers and ovenbirds.

The American Bird Conservancy estimates as many as 1 billion birds die annually from colliding with glass in the U.S. as they see and therefore fly into the reflection of landscapes and the sky or inside vegetation.

The exterior of the Galveston building, previously lit by large floodlights, is now illuminated only by green lights on its top level for air travel safety considerations. Other widely available means to protect birds include products to make residential and commercial windows less attractive to them. Specially placed tape or mullions creating stripes or patterns can help birds identify glass and avoid deadly crashes. Awnings, shutters and outside screens can also reduce bird collisions with buildings.

This article appears in the November 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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