BirdSafe Maine is a collaboration between Maine Audubon, the Portland Society for Architecture, and the University of Southern Maine to address the problem of bird window strikes in Maine. For more information, contact Advocacy and Outreach Manager Nick Lund.
IF YOU FIND A WINDOW STRIKE VICTIM, ANY TIME OF YEAR, PLEASE SEND PHOTOGRAPHS AND INFORMATION TO BIRDSTRIKE@MAINEAUDUBON.ORG.
The Problem: 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 millions 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.
Solutions: 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.
- Glass Collisions – Products & Solutions Database – A comprehensive list of window treatments recommended by the American Bird Conservancy.
- Informational handouts for homeowners, facilities managers, and architects designed by our partners at Portland Society for Architecture.
Our Work: Maine Audubon and our partners are working to educate architects, home-builders, homeowners, state and local officials, and other concerned citizens about the bird strike issue. We are working on a number of fronts:
- Portland Surveys
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. We have identified hundreds individual birds of more than 20 species on the streets of Portland, most often at the base of just a few problematic buildings. We are continuing to monitor the city, and new constructions, as well as work with building-owners to remedy particular problems.
- Statewide Information Collection
We want to know where birds are striking windows around the state. If you find a dead or stunned bird at your home or anywhere, we want to know about it. Please take a photo of the bird and send it with date and location information to BIRDSTRIKE@MAINEAUDUBON.ORG
- Outreach to the Architectural Community
Our partners at the Portland Society for Architecture (PSA) have helped us make strong connections to the local architectural community, and we are working together to educate and advise on particular projects. PSA has hosted a number of educational webinars and in-person gatherings to discuss bird-safe architecture and solutions for particular projects. We’re also in conversation on specific projects to help them reduce their danger to birds, including the new Mid-Mountain Lodge at Saddleback Mountain, which is set to have some unique and state-of-the-art protections for local breeding birds.
- Policy Solutions
BirdSafe Maine is taking our data and turning it into action. In 2023, Maine became just the fourth state to take statewide action on bird-safe architecture with the passage of LD 670, An Act to Protect Birds in the Construction, Renovation and Maintenance of Public Buildings. The new law will bring together stakeholders across Maine to develop guidelines for the bird safety in public buildings. Maine Audubon and our BirdSafe partners are looking forward to working with the state to create sensible and effective guidelines.
IN THE NEWS:
Letter to the editor: Portland can reduce bird deaths by reducing reflective glass (Portland Press Herald, October 24, 2023)
How to Prevent Birds from Crashing Into Your Windows (Bangor Daily News, April 5, 2023)
Yarmouth fourth-graders going to bat for the birds (Forecaster, Nov. 8, 2022)
Efforts Grow to Encourage the Use of Bird-Safe Windows (Maine Sunday Telegram, August 14, 2022)
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)