If you take a trip around the outside of the Odum School of Ecology, you might notice a pattern on some of the windows. During her tenure as vice president of the Lilly Branch Audubon Society, graduate student, Isabella Ragonese, started an initiative for a problem that most people may not even know exists. On a sunny day, glass windows reflect the environment around the buildings. This can be a problem when a bird goes to fly around the area and doesn’t see the glass but sees the environment reflecting back. The bird will continue flying and have a collision with the glass causing injury or death. While one bird might not have an immense impact, it is estimated that over 365 million birds die from window collisions every year in North America. After learning about this problem, there was a question of how often it happens on UGA campus and where it occurs. That question was the basis for forming the UGA Bird Collision Project. The project is a way for people to record observations around UGA campus and discuss where the highest frequency of collisions is. With the support of the UGA’s Campus Sustainability Grant, the team was able to modify 16 of the windows in the Odum School of Ecology to include window films. The window films are a pattern of white, circular dots in a 2×2 grid. In another section of Odum School of Ecology, there is a tinted film that also helps break up the reflective window. Window treatments like these have been proven effective in preventing bird-window collisions, and can be life saving for bird populations. In the future, the group hopes to continue the project but prioritizing other UGA buildings to receive window treatment.
While not an EcoReach initiative, we wanted to highlight this project because it is a fantastic example of environmental stewardship by UGA students. Have a project you want to see highlighted? Email us!
Want to Get Involved?
As you walk around UGA campus be on the lookout for dead or stunned birds around windows. By submitting these recordings to the UGA Bird Collison Project, we can learn where the highest frequency of collisions occur. If you notice birds hitting your windows at home, you can take preventative measures! While commercial films can be expensive, there are DIY small scale methods you can use in your own house. Using colored tape or paint you can create stripes or dots in a 2-inch by 2-inch grid formation similar to the photo above. It’s important to form the dots close enough together to prevent birds from trying to fly through what they perceive as gaps. Another option that doesn’t alter the glass itself is to hang strings with 2 inch gaps outside your window.
Additional information that the UGA Bird Collision Project recommends can be found below: