Nov 20, 2014 10:54 PM EST
Nov 20, 2014 11:39 PM EST
By Bethany Teague, New River Valley Reporter
BLACKSBURG (WSLS) - After a bird collided with her office window last
year, one Virginia Tech researcher decided it was time to act. Rebecca Schneider formed a team of volunteers to investigate the issue of birds being hurt or killed from flying into windows.
In one year, the team documented more than 200 bird deaths in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center alone.
the problem does not stop there. It is estimated that almost a billion
birds die across the U.S. each year from window collisions.
The team is hoping to eventually receive grant money to further this study.
"Architects must limit the amount and type of glass on the first three
floors of a building, considered the most dangerous area for birds, to
earn the LEED credit for bird-safe design. Only 15 percent of all glazed
surfaces on the bottom floors can be clear glass; texture, color or
opacity must be added to the remaining glass to reduce threats from
transparency or reflections."
"Glass treatment must be applied to the exterior to be effective, Brand said."
"Protective screens and shutters also deter birds by minimizing a bird’s exposure to transparent or reflective glass."
"Architect Eric Jabaley of Dogwood Design Studio said more affordable
solutions from window manufacturers are needed to make bird-friendly
designs appealing. He said most of his clients request as many windows
as possible and set strict project budgets."
This male House Finch (Bldg. 15C) was reported to me yesterday afternoon. When I found him it was cold and windy, he was sitting in a puddle. I kept him in a paper bag in my office to warm up and recover for about an hour. I then took him outside to see if he could fly away, he could not. I brought him back inside and called a local bird rehabber. She recommended keeping him overnight to recover since it was getting late and the temperatures were going to drop into the teens.
Unfortunately, the trauma was too much and he didn't survive the window collision. I often get inspiration from Lynne Parks. Lynne is a volunteer with Lights out Baltimore. She recently asked me to participate in an art exhibit in March to raise awareness of bird-window collisions. I am thrilled and honored at this opportunity.
Taking photos help make sure these birds are memorialized in some way - that their deaths can help move this issue to the forefront of people's minds. I had to find a fitting way to capture this House Finch. I hope I did.
"The paucity of data on the effectiveness of various techniques for
reducing bird-window collisions in a real-world setting is a problem for
architects and glass manufacturers who have to put these ideas into
"A lot of the advice conservation organizations give to architects is
along the lines of "don't use a lot of glass near big bodies of water,"
says Sheppard. "Well, how close is near and how big is large?" she asks.
"Architects are used to using things they can measure."
Nature is full of surprises! This Blue-headed Vireo (Bldg. 11C) was just reported at 3:00pm today. I went over to document it and as I held it in my hand, I was gently dive-bombed by a hawk, a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's. It was so close I could feel the soft breeze from its wing against my face! I wish I had gotten a better look at it. Maybe this vireo was chased for some time until it crashed into the window? I'll never know the details of what happened, or what species of hawk it was, but I will certainly never forget! Hopefully the hawk will come back and finish what it started.