Decorating for the Birds     

Thanks to the efforts of Sarah Sanford, a Duke University Stanback Intern with SAHC this summer, our new office has been outfitted with window decals to help protect our winged friends.

Sarah worked with her professors at Duke University on a project to prevent birds from fatally colliding with reflective windows. The Bird Collision Project at Duke uses patterned film to break up reflective surfaces seen by birds while retaining visibility for people inside buildings. Sarah suggested a similar idea for SAHC’s new office, taking the initiative to line our front windows with stickers of bird silhouettes. The use of the stickers will help the birds to avoid those windows.

“When birds see reflective glass, instead of seeing their own reflections, they see a reflection of the surrounding trees and vegetation. This is often why birds mistakenly fly into these reflective windows and die on impact due to momentum,” Sarah explained.  “The bird-patterned window stickers will make them think there’s actually a presence of other birds instead of just trees and vegetation. Birds are really good at not hitting each other in the air, so the window decals will help deter the real birds from reflective glass.”

A study published by the Cooper Ornithological Society states that there are “estimates of between 100 million and 1 billion birds killed annually in the US,” due to “building collisions, and particularly collisions with windows.” We hope simple efforts such as decorating for the birds will make a positive impact in the, helping protect the species that inhabit our urban areas.

Duke University implemented their project on a large scale, and the number of collision-related bird deaths associated with the university has declined remarkably.For more info on their project, visit: