Many threats to wildlife and the environment are complex and difficult to solve. Individual initiative is often diluted by the scope of global problems. A new book points to a problem with an easy solution that most of us can contribute to.
Written by Dr. Daniel Klem Jr., Acopian Professor of Ornithology and Conservation Biology at Muhlenberg College, Solid Air, Invisible Killer: Saving Billions of Birds from Windows not only points out a problem but provides solutions.
According to Dr. Klem’s research, residential and low rise commercial buildings contribute most to bird deaths caused by window collisions. Overall, between 100 million and one billion birds are killed each year by flying into windows in the US alone. This is on top of many other problems birds face from collisions with cars to house cats, pollution and invasive species. Birds like many other animals are suffering because of our actions.
Solutions to glass collisions Klem suggests are placing stickers on windows in a 2 inch by 4 inch pattern, keeping screens on windows even in winter and closing curtains or blinds. When new construction is being considered, acid etched or frittered glass is more visible to birds.
Some windows are also now manufactured in a way to reflect UV light that is invisible to us but not to birds. In fact, UV film retrofits are over 90 percent effective in field studies and will soon be available commercially. Furthermore, UV glass for new construction has already just been released. Another important thing people can do is advocate for greater bird awareness and bird safe building.
Whether a renter, home owner, or merely a concerned citizen, pointing the problem out to others and offering solutions and resources can also help birds. Promoting better construction or better policies can create a better future for birds.