Although people can tell the difference between reflections and reality, our feathered friends cannot. Birds easily mistake reflections in glass for their habitats. Windows look like nearby trees or the open sky, for example. Tragically, up to one billion birds die each year because they fly into glass windows or other human structures. Although this seems like a problem for cities—and it is—the issue extends to suburban and rural neighborhoods. Any place with human structures is a potential threat.
Avian populations have dived partly because buildings of all kinds have increased exponentially. Many adults die from glass strikes as they fly to their breeding grounds, before they are able to reproduce for the year. And too many juvenile birds perish in their fall migration, before they have had any chicks at all. After domestic cats and habitat loss, collisions with buildings kill more birds than other human factors. These population losses are unsustainable and must be reversed to preserve birds for the next generation.
In this effort, the Southern Maryland Audubon Society supports Safe Skies Maryland, a fellow partner with the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership. Safe Skies Maryland helps educate people throughout the state about the threats posed by man-made structures for migratory and resident birds. It uses science and technology to find ways to prevent birds colliding with windows.
Please go to the Safe Skies Maryland website at https://safeskiesmaryland.org/ and check out their guide for creating bird-safe windows at home!
Another great resource is the American Bird Conservancy’s Glass Collision program, which has a number of solutions for bird-safe windows. https://abcbirds.org/program/glass-collisions/