Sunday, November 4, 2007

How to reduce bird collisions

Here's the page on the FLAP website that suggests how to minimize bird collisions with glass. Nothing works very well. I have collisions in the windows in the back of my own house. But here is a place to look for some things to try:

retrofitting at the Morgan Mail building

As most of you are aware, Morgan Mail has been retrofitted over the summer and this is a great, great news for NYC Audubon and all the volunteers who monitored this building over the years. All the large glass panels along the south façade of 28th street and facing Chelsea park have been covered by an opaque vinyl film, thus preventing the trees from been reflected, as exposed in the picture below.

Monitoring at this site began early September and I am happy to confirm that no birds were found on this façade so far this season.

But there’s more to it! This success story caught Peter Duffy’s attention, a reporter from the New York Times! You can catch up with this article which was published Saturday September 22nd by clicking on the link below:

From the October 4 newsletter of Nicole Delacrétaz, Project Safe Flight Program Manager, NYC Audubon

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Morgan Mail Facility covers windows

Nicole Delacretaz reported on October 17:
I am happy to report that Morgan Mail’s south façade hasn’t harmed a single bird this season, keeping its collision number to the lowest level ever: 4 collisions, all on the west façade. In comparison, by the same time last year, Morgan Mail had witnessed 157 collisions, 153 of which were fatal.

The film on the windows that cut down the reflections at that location seems to have worked.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Green Building Conference 10-25 in NYC

BUILD IT GREEN: A Conference on the Future of Green Building

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The New York Academy of Medicine

1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street

8:30 am - 12:30 PM

Please register by Friday, October 19th to guarantee space


Amanda Burden, Director, NYC Department of City Planning

Carlton Brown, Principal, Full Spectrum of NY

Randolph Croxton, President, Croxton Collaborative Architects

The Build It Green Conference is one of the main components of Go Green East Harlem, a community-based initiative designed to transform East Harlem into the premier showcase for green, healthy living in Manhattan. Working with a steering committee of over 100 community leaders, experts and elected officials, Go Green has created an agenda focusing on Green Building, Transportation, Healthy Eating, Public Health and Asthma, Parks and Open Space, and Sustainable Business Practices.

The conference will include an expo where manufacturers of green products and goods will have display tables.

Any architects who attend the conference will receive Continuing Education Credits (CES LU's 2.5, HSH 2.5)


Friday, October 5, 2007

The Human Eye

Learn more about the human eye with this video of a UC Berkeley lecture:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Birds collide with airplanes, too

Birds don't hit just buildings. - the site of the National Wildlife Research Station in Sandusky, Ohio.

The primary focus of research at the NWRC Sandusky, OH, field station concerns wildlife hazards to aircraft. Commercial jet aircraft traffic has shown a dramatic increase. Wildlife on and near airports create a hazard to operating aircraft. Wildlife strikes can cause severe damage to aircraft, human injuries, and loss of life. Between 1990 and 2003, 52,000 wildlife strikes were reported to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); 10% had an adverse effect on the aircraft or flight operation. The estimated cost of wildlife strikes to U.S. civil aviation 1990-2003 was almost $500 million per year. Internationally, the commercial aviation industry incurs a loss of over $1.2 billion annually from wildlife strikes with aircraft. U.S. military losses are estimated to be over $100 million annually. As one dramatic example, the U.S. Air Force lost 24 airmen and a $190 million AWACS plane in 1995 after the aircraft hit geese on take-off at Elmendorf Air Force Base, AL.

Birds can see magnetic field

This article says that structures in bird eyes help bird navigate. You might say that birds see the magnetic field of the earth

Building Guidelines

NYC Audubon has been monitoring the deaths of birds in collisions with buildings in Project Safe Flight or "PSF." New New York City Audubon has published a pamphlet of building guidelines. Here's the announcement from the current issue of The Urban Audubon, published by NYC Audubon. The URL for the on-line version of the pamphlet appears in the "Bird Sites" section of this blog.

"PSF helped building owners find solutions fortroublesome sites. With the support of the Bird-Safe Glass Working Group, NYC Audubon members, government agencies, and foundations, Bird-Safe Building Guide-lines (Guidelines) has been published byNew York City Audubon (online at The 55-page document written by Hillary Brown and Steven Caputo of New Civic Works and Kate Orff of SCAPE is aimed at architects, designers, developers, building managers, and policy makers, yet it is comprehensible and useful to all readers. Its suggestions are meant either for new buildings or for retrofitting existing ones and go far beyond bird-safe glass."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Daniel Klem - Window Collisions

Daniel Klem is a leading expert on collisions of birds with windows.

He published "Bird-Window Collisions" in 1989 in Wilson Bulletin 101(4):606-620. Here is the URL: All birds are vulnerable, because they fail to recognize glass as a barrier. Birds that fly into windows are not necessarily unhealthy or otherwise impaired specimens.

Bird strikes - four-story glass walkway

The study is Bird Mortality at a Glassed-In Walkway in Washington State, by R.E. Johnson and G. E. Hudson. It was published in 1976 in Western Birds, 7:99-107.

The most common bird in the study between May 1968 to March 1970 (28 birds out of 155) was the pine siskin,, a small finch with a brown-streaked body. American Robin (turdus migratorius - and yellow warbler (Dendroica petechia - were next most common, with 9 each out of 155 specimens.

Migration seasons, especially fall, were most lethal for birds. The location in this study was a glass walkway that does not reflect but seems completely transparent. An invisible barrier.

Glassed in Walkways

Johnson, R.E. and G. E. Hudson, 1976. Bird Mortality at a glassed in Walkway in Washington State.

Mortality was greatest during migration seasons, especially fall. The location in this study was a glass walkway that does not reflect but seems completely transparent. An invisible barrier.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bird Conservation Alliance National Meeting

Bird Conservation Alliance National Meeting - Register
October 11, 2007 Agenda
The Nature Conservancy World Wide Office in Arlington, VA

The Bird Conservation Alliance is a network of organizations with a shared interest in the conservation of wild birds. Through the Alliance, millions of birdwatchers and concerned citizens are united with conservation professionals, scientists, and educators to benefit bird conservation efforts. The Bird-Safe Glass Foundation is a member.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Morgan Mail Facility covers windows

The windows at the Morgan mail facility at 28th Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan were not really windows overlooking the park. However, the windows overlooking Chelsea Park on 28th Street reflected the trees in the park. Birds ran into those windows at a high rate. For birds it was one of the deadliest places in Manhattan. The rates are apparently greatest during the migration seasons. We speculate that that is because the birds in migration do not really know their surroundings.

New York City Audubon volunteers counted the fatalities, and the post office agreed to coat the windows. Now, those windows are not reflective. We thank the post office. The Times story was on the first page of the B section below the fold. We thank the Times for the coverage.

The glass was the exterior facade of the building, but the glass did not act as windows. No one was looking out. One thing this illustrates is the popularity of glass facades today. Another is that it is easier to coat the windows with a non-reflective, black, vinyl film when no one's vision or light is diminished.

From 2002 through 2006, the New York City Audubon volunteers, led by Nicole Delacretaz, had counted 862 collisions. The three most common species were dark-eyed junco (junco hyemalis -, white throated sparrows (onotrichia albicollis - and ruby-crowned kinglets (regulus calendula -, according to the Times story. In other words, most of the birds that fly into the windows of buildings are little birds.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

1979 review

Review of Avian Mortality Due to Manmade Structures, by Michael L. Avery.

Daniel Klem in 1979 estimated 80 million birds killed per year or about one per building in the US, even though some buildings kill many more than one bird. That year, R. C. Banks put the number at only 3.5 million birds per year.

We think Klem's number is too low, and in any event there are many more buildings exist in the US now than did in 1979. Klem's calculation came in his doctoral dissertation at Southern Illinois. He has devoted a great deal of time and research effort to the topic of bird collisions since then.

Klem's work suggested that bird kills from collisions with buildings happen at all seasons and involving both clear glass and reflective glass. All kinds of birds run into buildngs and die---young and old, many species.

In addition, many other kinds of structures kill birds, including antenna and broadcast towers (and their guys) and overhead power lines.

Daniel Klem is currently working on a study for New York City Audubon using the Project Safe Flight data tht the volunteers have collected.

For many years, the effects of manmade structures on birds have been known. It has taken a long time for humans to take notice of these effects on the natural world.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Birds' eyes

It says:
"In man, binocular vision is about 140 degrees out of a total of about 180 degrees. In a pigeon though the binocular area is only 20-30 degrees out of a total field of vision of 300-340 degrees. In many raptors and owls the situation is different. In these birds, as in many insectivorous birds, binocular vision, important in making judgements of distance, is more necessary and so these birds have their eyes more towards the front of their heads. This is most evident in owls where the total field of view is reduced to about 110 degrees with a binocular vision of 70 degrees. This is why owls turn their heads to watch you walk past. An owl can turn its head through over 200 degrees but cannot move its eyes in its head at all."

Maybe the lack of binocular vision makes littler birds more likely to fail to see glass for what it is.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Conviction under Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992

This does not have anything to do particularly with glass. However, the US 2d Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of an internationally known falconer for importation of a black sparrowhawk (accipter melanoleucas) from South Africa.

The falconer, Thomas Cullen, has or had a large collection of birds of prey, according to the decision. He sought to import three black sparrowhawks, with a commercial value of about $800 apiece in England, even though importation of the birds is illegal, because they are on the endangered species list. He tried to fit them in under an exemption for personal pets, but the lower court jury found that the filing with the government was false in this regard.

This may have been the first prosecution under this statute, which is codified at 16 U.S.C. 4901 et seq.

Decisions of interest - August 29, 2007 -

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Netting works

  • Here's what New York City Audubon said: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center was experiencing bird collisions at some of its large, reflective windows. In response, a swift retrofitting solution in the form of netting was implemented in order to avoid unnecessary bird kills. This solution represents a good example of how collision prevention measures can be implemented at a site with reflective windows. NYC Audubon is now also able to highlight this case with other buildings that encounter similar bird collision problems. Photos taken by Ron Bourque.

Little birds collide with windows

  • Here is the collision tally by species for the spring 2007 as reported by Project Safe Flight

    The overall number of species collected by Project Safe Flight Volunteers reached 30 and the top five species found this spring 2007 are:

    Ovenbird 13 Collisions


    Black-and-White Warbler 9 Collisions


    White-throated Sparrow 8 Collisions


    American Woodcock 5 Collisions


    The three following species are tied for the fifth position with three collisions each:

    Blue Jay -

  • Common Yellowthroat -

  • Northern Waterthrush -

Below is a juvenile belted kingfisher that was found. It was injured rather than killed. Photo Doug Backlund.

Robin lured by deceptive glass

  • This dead robin was photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This photo suggests that birds see reflections and don't understand that what they see is a reflection on a hard surface. Photo by Rebekah Creshkoff on March 31, 2007.

Places where birds strike buildings

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New York City Audubon Project Safe Flight

New York City Audubon has been operating Project Safe Flight to tally the numbers of dead birds found by various buildings in New York City. This URL describes the project.

2005 Conference

Birds & Buildings: Creating a Safer Environment was a conference in 2005 in Chicago. Chicago has shown leadership in coping with the problems of birds dying from collisions with buildings.

Humane Society

The Humane Society has taken an interest in the problem of birds flying into buildings.

The Foundation

The Bird-Safe Glass Foundation, Inc., is a New Jersey non-profit corporation founded in 2006 to find ways to protect birds. The Foundation's organizers hope to accomplish this by developing windows that birds can see and that humans won't see. Architectural glass plays a big role in modern buildings. It is believed that birds have trouble seeing both glass that reflects sky and trees and glass that they see right through. The Foundation's organizers hope to follow two paths. First, they want to fund experiments with glass. Second, the organizers want to learn more about how and what birds see. The purpose of this blog is to publicize the work of The Bird-Safe Glass Foundation.