How researchers check bird-friendly glass designs


Window collisions are one of many single-biggest causes of dying for birds, accounting for as much as 1 billion fatalities a 12 months in the USA alone. Fortunately, demand for bird-friendly glass is on the rise due to rising consciousness of the difficulty and new bird-safe constructing insurance policies in locations like New York Metropolis. To fulfill this demand, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is increasing its capability to check bird-friendly glass designs.

Final fall, North America’s second-ever bird-friendly glass testing tunnel debuted at Foreman’s Department Bird Observatory in Chestertown, Maryland. The brand new tunnel, which is collectively run by Washington Faculty and ABC, greater than doubles the variety of glass designs that may be examined by ABC for bird-friendliness annually. As the primary testing tunnel situated on a campus, the brand new tunnel additionally provides faculty college students a hands-on take a look at how conservation analysis could be put into motion to avoid wasting birds’ lives.  

Tunnel technician Meghan McHenry of Washington Faculty holds a pane of glass to be examined within the tunnel. Picture courtesy Washington Faculty

ABC and the Powdermill Avian Analysis Heart first started testing glass with a tunnel at a bird-banding station in Rector, Pennsylvania, in 2010, the place researchers developed a rigorous course of. In every trial, a fowl is caught domestically by licensed fowl banders, then launched into one finish of the 24-foot-long tunnel. The fowl flies towards the sunshine on the different finish, the place a check pane and a transparent glass pane positioned aspect by aspect current a selection. ABC assigns the glass a “Materials Risk Issue” rating primarily based on the variety of trials wherein a fowl flies towards the check pane (every pattern is examined 80 to 100 occasions). The extra typically birds keep away from the check pane, the extra seemingly they’ll see the bird-safe alteration and keep away from the glass within the wild. Examined birds safely bounce off a mist web earlier than reaching the glass, and every fowl is launched again into the wild after a single check flight.

Throughout the fall migration season final 12 months, Washington Faculty employed a latest graduate as a tunnel technician to guide testing efforts. Below her steerage, the faculty ran greater than 2,500 check flights and authorized 10 new glass designs after testing samples from producers within the U.S., U.Okay., Brazil, Germany, Turkey, and South Korea. This spring and summer season, a mixed complete of greater than 20 glass samples will probably be examined on the Pennsylvania and Maryland tunnel areas.

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