The nation is waking up to the incredible threat that buildings pose to flying birds. Buildings are not a natural part of the environment, and humans have disguised buildings in a number of ways to make them more deceiving, and deadly, to birds. The result is that billions of North American birds are killed each year in building collisions, another danger added to the growing list of threats to bird populations worldwide.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that somewhere between 388 million and 988 million birds die from building collisions each year. Glass is the major culprit. Glass is both reflective — which tricks birds into thinking they’re flying into open sky or vegetation — and transparent — it appears invisible to a bird when lit from inside. All windows pose a threat, from those in the tallest skyscrapers to your kitchen window.
Thankfully, there are solutions to this problem. The American Bird Conservancy recommends numerous architectural solutions, including screening; a de-emphasis on exterior glass; ultraviolet strips placed inside glass panels; exterior frits or stickers; and other measures.
Maine Audubon wants to reduce the number of birds dying in window collisions across the state. To begin, we’re partnering on a project called BirdSafe Maine with the University of Southern Maine, The Portland Society for Architecture, and Avian Haven. Our goal is to educate Mainers on the problem of bird collisions, and get the city of Portland and eventually other municipalities to update their building codes to require bird safe technologies.
Maine Audubon volunteers and USM students are surveying routes in Portland during spring and fall migration seasons, walking in the early morning looking for evidence of building strikes.
YOU CAN HELP! IF YOU FIND A BIRD ON A PORTLAND SIDEWALK THIS SPRING LET US KNOW!
TAKE SOME PHOTOS AND SEND THEM TO BIRDSTRIKE@MAINEAUDUBON.ORG
With your help we can help improve safety for birds across Maine.
Audubon survey aims to point out Portland’s clear and present danger to birds (Portland Press Herald, Sept. 23, 2020)
Ask Maine Audubon: Place those window decals properly to prevent bird strikes (Maine Sunday Telegram, Sept. 6, 2020)