Birder's Guide

NOV 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 33 of 43

32 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2016 Avoiding Bird Collisions Feeders should be placed 3 feet (or closer) from the glass. Strikes will still happen but at much slower speeds, resulting in fewer injuries and deaths. Another strategy is to place feeders well away from windows. Structural/Permanent Prevention $$$ • Screens, solar screens $$$ • Etched/frosted glass patterns (AviProtek and similar) $$$ • Low-risk glass (ORNILUX and similar) NOTE : See for a comprehensive review of glass-altering products and lower-risk glass and their relative effectiveness. Myth Busting - Dirty windows are ineffective. - Distress calls and noise deterrents are ineffective. - Falcon silhouette stickers are ineffec- tive unless spaced very close together. - Plastic owls are ineffective. - Plastic snakes may deter territorial strikes, but are ineffective for everything else. Preventing strikes has a much bigger im- pact than just reducing the "thump" noises and the visible body count. It's not a natu- ral death for the birds (Klem 1989), and those that die at windows are the healthy birds in prime condition for breeding, post-breeding dispersal, and migration. Birds that are already sick or injured are not magically drawn to windows to die. Even if a stunned bird flies away, half of the survivors will die of their injuries away from the window later (Klem 1990). A wide variety of bird species die in collisions with glass. While humming- birds and songbirds are among the most frequently found casualties during mi- gration, strange things happen, like the Lights Out Baltimore team finding a Yellow Rail in April 2016. Thank good- ness that bird survived and was released, but most are not so lucky. Most residential buildings kill up to10 birds per year (Klem 1979), but campuses and office buildings average more than double that (Hager et al. 2008). Technology continues to improve the structural integ- rity of plate glass, and its increased use in commercial building design is staggering. This architectural emphasis on glass com- bined with scenic landscaping is creating a deadly combination for birds. Groups all over the continent are seeking to make bird-safe buildings a reality. Toronto's Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) and the American Bird Conservancy are leading the push and reaching out to architects as well. Bird- friendly design has even been incorpo- rated into the U.S. Green Building Council's celebrated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification (Chapter 55). Portland, Oregon, is an excellent example of a city that is not only part of the Urban Bird Treaty Cities program (organized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) but also has bird-safe building regulations in place. Unfortunately, we need look no fur- ther than the new Minnesota Vikings football stadium controversy to see that bird-safe measures are resisted when even moderately inconvenient. Plans for a highly reflective glass stadium were protested by local Audubon and Lights Acopian Bird Savers are low-cost, easy to install, and simple as a DIY project. Photo © Acopian BirdSavers Continued on page 34 Continued from page 30

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