Windows Kill 100 Million to A Billion Birds A Year

by Larry Jordan on October 28, 2008

This is a photo of the birds killed during the fall migration in 2002 in Toronto just to give you an idea of how big this problem is. Please watch the 4 1/2 minute video below to learn about Fatal Light Awareness Program and maybe together we birders can begin to make a difference in the cities near us to solve this problem.

Windows may be the most significant cause of death to birds, second only to loss of habitat according to Dr. of Muhlenberg College who has done studies over a period of 20 years, looking at with windows. There has been some improvement in Toronto, Chicago and New York which have introduced programs to dim lights in skyscrapers at night but there is much work to be done.

The group largely credited with beginning this campaign is the Fatal Light Awareness Program or FLAP.  You can download their Bird Friendly Development Guidelines (8MB) which offers a comprehensive list of development strategies to make new and existing buildings less dangerous to migratory birds. There are a number of ways to make buildings better for birds including glass treatments, how the building and site is lit at night, as well as adopting new practices for building operations and site management.

There are a few things that might help us all move toward a greener and heathier planet and help our bird friends too.  Check out Laura Erickson’s 101 Ways To Help Birds.  This engaging book presents 101 things individuals can do to help both individual birds and bird populations as a whole.  It also explains exactly how these actions can make a difference.

For more information on this phenomenon, an Audubon Alert has some history on the subject of window strikes including some solutions for home owners as well as information on how architectural changes will help solve this problem. One product I am going to try on my own home is CollidEscape, a product that makes windows visible to birds without obstructing your view of the outdoors.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Did you like this? Share it:

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas October 29, 2008 at 6:16 am

Incredible data and a pretty strong video to go along with it. Thanks for sharing this with us

Thomass last blog post..Birding in India @ Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary


MissyMa October 29, 2008 at 7:07 pm

I see this tragedy first hand where I work which is a glass building located in a downtown area.

Once a week I go out to get a coffee and will see a dead bird on the ground. It is usually a house sparrow but I have also seen a few gold finches. Gold finches are one of my favorite birds so it always ruins my morning when I see one dead on the pavement. Once I was near the building when I heard a thud and saw a male gold finch fall down on the ground in shock with his mouth open and breathing rapid and short. I scooped him up and grabbed a piece of cardboard from my purse and put him under the bushes with a cardboard tent over him in hopes he could recover in peace and away from predators. I went back an hour later and he was gone but the tent was still there. I am hoping he was one that recovered. This always happens during the day when it is sunny.

I hate the building I work at. :o(


Larry October 30, 2008 at 5:51 am

@MissyMa thanks for sharing. I am curious, what city do you live in? I would like to find out some specifics on which cities have the most problems with window collision and what each city is doing about it if anything. I am thinking I need to do some research into this looking at the migration flyways and contacting Audubon chapters in those cities most affected first.


MissyMa October 30, 2008 at 4:33 pm

I work in Worcester, Massachusetts in the Glass Tower which is 446 Main Street.

I hope this helps. I have thought of getting involved some how, but it is such an overwhelming task for one person to do.


flowergirl November 1, 2008 at 9:50 am

I wasn’t aware of this. Thanks to IATB for linking this! I am going to put this video on my blog as well…

Seems like whatever we do some species gets hurt. I read somewhere that windmill farms are killing bats…

flowergirls last blog post..Why Do Fall Leaves Change Colour?


Larry November 1, 2008 at 11:28 am

@Flowergirl it is difficult to weigh the pros and cons of everything we do but I believe it must be done to keep the birds and other wildlife we enjoy safe as well as our fellow human beings. Please check out my post on Wind Power, Is There A Solution here:


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: