Seed-Seeking Sparrows by Catriona Hall
It’s not just plastic litter and toxic foods that affect urban birds, but the growth of glass buildings and light pollution, which combined cause billions of birds to suffer ‘bird strike’. Everyone gets upset at the thought of garden birds flying into windows. High-rise glass buildings confuse our feathered friends, especially in towns where planners and developers have ripped old building facades and replaced them with more glass. There are lots of things we can do collectively to help. These include:
- Turn off unused lights, especially in glass buildings
- Use task lights at night, and blinds
- Turn off unnecessary security lighting
- Print off free posters by Lights Out campaign
- Turn building lights off from dusk to dawn
- Preserve building facades (rather than use glass)
- Use blinds, shutters & sheer curtain to filter sunlight
- Remove houseplants near windows (birds get confused and think they are outside shelter areas)
- Install frosted windows where possible
- Do not burn candles near windows
- The Spruce has a super checklist to go through.
- See how to make your home safe for birds
- If cats are not nearby, place bird baths or feeders nearby
- This means birds don’t have space to ‘gain momentum’
Bird-Friendly Window Inventions
Decals for windows are not effective, unless they almost cover the window (birds will try to fly through any space larger than a few inches). More effective are screens, visual barriers and bird-friendly glass. This metal grill at Brooklyn Bridge Park shields people from heat, and also helps to prevent bird collisions.
- Ornilux & Guardian Glass make UV glass that birds can see
- BirdSafe reviews the best bird-strike prevention inventions
- Start a FLAP Program. Includes a volunteer manual
- Download FLAP App to find ways to remedy problems
- Let people know (if you see decals on windows)
- CollidEscape BirdTape sticks to the exterior surface of a glass window (custom orders available) to reduce reflections and transparency, while thousands of small perforations allow light to pass through. The tape includes a free spacing card for repeating strips and instructions on how to apply in vertical or horizontal patterns. The clear version looks like spider webs to birds, who will avoid it (looks lightly frosted to us). The white option is an alternative.
Creating Bird-Friendly Towns & Cities
The Bird-Friendly City is a book that asks ‘how does a bird experience a city, backyard or park?’ As the world becomes more urban, noisy (due to increased traffic) and brighter (from street lights and office buildings), this also makes cities and towns more dangerous for countless species of birds.
- Warblers become disorientated by night time lights, and collide with buildings
- Ground-feeding sparrows fall prey to feral cats
- Hawks and other birds-of-prey are sickened by rat poison
These are just of the few hazards. How do our cities need to change to reduce the threats to our native wildlife. This book takes readers on a global tour of cities are are reinventing the status quo, with birds in mind. From public education and urban planning to habitat restoration and civil disobedience, this book shares empowering examples including catios (enclosed outdoor spaces for cats to enjoy, without catching birds – and designs to prevent birds hitting glass windows.