“Green” windows save birds

There are many ways to prevent birds from flying into windows, including these AviProtek windows

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A black-capped chickadee sits on a bird feeder.

Birds such as black-capped chickadees sometimes fly from nearby bird feeders into windows, so move your bird feeder farther from your house. — AmyKerk/iStock/Thinkstock photo

We’ve all heard the sickening “thump.” We look up and see feathers stuck to the window and know that a bird just hit it.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology estimates that up to 100 million birds are killed each year by collisions with windows in the U.S. alone. Sometimes the birds are merely stunned and recover in a few moments. Often, though, window hits lead to severe internal injuries and death.

There are three likely reasons for bird/window interactions:

• The birds see the landscape—trees, clouds and sky—reflected on the glass surface but do not realize that a hard, transparent surface is deceiving them and so they fly into it.
• Birds that are fleeing to escape predators often fly into windows.
• In spring, a male bird, such as a robin, may see his reflection in a window and perceive it as intruding male. The robin will attack or peck the window to scare off his competitor and thus defend his breeding territory—and his sweetheart. This problem is more annoying than lethal.

Walker Glass Co. Ltd., a Montreal-based company, has acid-etched glass products called bird-friendly glass or AviProtek. The visual patterns of the full surface etching on the glass deter birds from striking the glass, and there is no significant impact on the level of visible light transmission. Both stock and custom patterns are available.

What better endorsement of a green product is there than for a wildlife centre to use your bird-safe windows? AviProtek windows are used throughout a building in the Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area in St-Joachim, Quebec, and they’re attractive, too!

This spring, Walker Glass upped its game by teaming up with PPG Industries to launch bird-safe low-e coated glass products. This innovation marries the AviProtek pattern range from Walker Glass with the energy-efficiency features of Solarban glass products from PPG Industries, a worldwide company with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Bird-friendly building guidelines and even regulations continue to grow in North America. For more solutions to bird/window collisions for existing or new buildings—large or small—see Resource Guide for Bird-friendly Building Design from Portland, Oregon.

Virginia Rasch

Virginia is a writer and editor with KPI Media. She is an avid outdoor recreationist in all seasons and has lived in the Kootenays for over 15 years. With degrees in the natural sciences, she has worked as a tour guide, an environmentalist, a writer, and an editor of books and scientific publications. Virginia now brings her passion for everything green to KootenayBiz. View all of Virginia Rasch’s articles

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