Team works on glass tests to cut billion bird death rate

New York designer Ennead Architects has partnered with the New Jersey Audubon Society, the US Green Building Council and ornithologist Christine Sheppard to develop ways of assessing the response of birds in flight to glass types.

The group aim to create a "next generation" of laboratory testing apparatus and an associated testing protocol, similar to that developed by standards body ASTM International for building products.

Ennead has laid out a test procedure for the glass. The birds are released into a test tunnel fitted with different types of glass. Researchers observe which panes the bird tends to fly towards, then release them.

The firm say glass windows in all buildings are "fatal hazard for birds" and that "scientists currently estimate that 100 million to 1 billion birds are killed by collisions with glass each year in the US alone".

The team will build upon previous research and lessons learned from Sheppard’s earlier testing tunnel.

Ennead says the design and construction of the tunnel will create "desperately needed research, broadening the scientific knowledge underlying this critical environmental issue and leading to the development of new glass types and architectural design strategies to prevent bird collisions with buildings".

Images via Ennead Architects

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  1. A fully glazed faced tower block should not be of any colour which will camouflage with the colours of the day time sky at any time of the day! Now in Vancouver ,Canada, the predominant colour of the glass used to avoid killing birds is a specific green coloured glass . No bird will fly directly into anything green without spreading its wings to slow itself as the colour green it can only associate with trees and bushes! If it works in Canada it may work elsewhere too!!

  2. – Something certainly needs to be done – we have put up blinds (either vertical or horizontal) at all of our office windows (and at home) after a series of bird-strikes several years ago and more recently some opaque transfers on the front door after a few sad accidents; glass is a great boon for us humans……..but unnatural and so a bit confusing for other species, so let’s try to remedy that.

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