Expert Says Window Films Can Save Birds Lives

By Trish Svoboda

Picture by Quinn O’Hara

Kansas State University wildlife specialist Drew Ricketts said that each year an estimated one billion birds die from collisions with windows.

“There are two types of bird strikes,” Ricketts said. “One is where the bird doesn’t know the window is there and just runs into it. The other is when birds see their reflection in the window and sort of beat their beak on it because they’re trying to get at a competitor.”

Ricketts referred to a study where scientists examined window films to identify the most effective method to prevent harm to birds. He suggests window films with a picture or pattern to allow birds to see that something is there. He also suggests a bird shield, which is a film barely visible to humans, or a bird shade, which uses a wavelength of light that birds can see, but humans can’t.

“If you want your window to look clear, these sorts of films could be very effective,” Ricketts said. “They’re generally made for industrial applications, but you could purchase them for a house.”

Researchers have also said that the placement of the films is significant. When the films were positioned on the exterior of the window, there was a 50% increase in window avoidance due to bird shades, and a 40% increase due to the bird shield.

Ricketts said that though 50% may not seem like a lot, it is when you think how it could save half a billion birds from dying.

“And so even though it may not be convenient when we’re thinking about applying something to a window to keep a bird from hitting it, it’s going to be important to apply that to the outside – rather than the inside – of the window.”

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