one green planet
one green planet

Every year, hundreds of millions of birds in the United States meet their untimely demise due to flying into glass windows. While many individuals attempt to prevent this tragedy by affixing decals or films to their windows, a recent study shows that these measures only work if placed on the outside of the glass.

John Swaddle, a professor of biology at the College of William & Mary and the study’s author, emphasized the importance of placing the products outside. “People who are buying decals and putting them on the windows, they want to do good, they want to do right by the birds,” he said.

Birds are facing increasing pressures, including habitat loss, climate change, and hunting by cats, leading to a staggering loss of population. In fact, nearly three billion birds have disappeared from the United States and Canada since 1970. Making windows more visible to birds is one way to help. However, putting decals on the outside of windows can often require ladders or scaffolding, leading some individuals to place them on the inside instead. Unfortunately, the study found that these products were not effective when placed on the inside.

Other bird-friendly approaches, such as sticking bird-of-prey silhouettes to windows, are also ineffective. The American Bird Conservancy has reviewed over 200 window treatments and found that the pattern is critical to their effectiveness. Lights can also be a problem for birds, drawing them in and disorienting them. To help, experts recommend using a motion sensor for outdoor lighting, especially floodlights. Although most bird strikes occur during the day, homes and low-rise buildings account for the majority of collisions, not just high-rises.

Dr. Swaddle and his team studied the effectiveness of placing material on the inside versus outside of windows using zebra finches. They found that when placed on the outside, the two products tested increased window avoidance by as much as 47%. In conclusion, while it may require a little extra effort, placing bird strike prevention products on the outside of windows is the most effective way to protect our feathered friends. Every action counts in the fight to protect bird populations, so let’s do our part to keep our skies filled with the sweet songs of birds.

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