Earlier this week I was sitting at the computer, minding my own business, when suddenly I heard a loud slapping sound against the window adjacent to me. Instantaneously I looked over to see the imprint and feathers of a panicked bird peeling itself off the window and promptly flying away. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this incident many times before and the crashing birds aren’t always lucky enough to be able to fly away.
According to a recent study reviewing and analyzing past studies on glass./bird fatalities published in The Condor, an ornithological journal, between 365 and 988 million birds are likely killed each year in the United States. This makes bird/window collisions the second largest source of direct human caused fatality, second to feral cats.
The Atlantic Cape Community College, Cape May County campus has come up with a way to reduce these bird accidents while also cutting electricity costs during the summer. By applying a window film, Atlantic Cape used one called CollidEscape, birds would no longer see the reflection of outdoor sky and trees in the window, thus deterring the crashes. The window film is opaque on the side facing outside but see through on the inside allowing indoor students to still be able to be distracted by nature while in class.
The film also blocks about half of the heat energy from the sun, reducing glare, and suppressing infrared and UV radiation.. This results in energy saving by reducing the need for air conditioning.
Prior to the installation of the window film, Atlantic Cape experienced bird crashes almost daily. Since beginning installation of the window films on 255 windows of one of their newer buildings, bird crashes have ceased. Scientists hope this project will inspire architects and building owners to modify their buildings to be more bird friendly.