Bird-Safe Design

Three projects demonstrate how glass buildings can be designed to protect our feathered friends from deadly collisions.
Architectural Record
By Katharine Logan

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the factors that often make building glazing deadly for birds.
  2. Outline some of the measures that can be implemented in new construction projects to prevent birds from colliding with buildings during daytime hours.
  3. Describe bird-friendly measures that can be easily implemented on existing buildings.
  4. Outline strategies for protecting migratory birds from nighttime building-related hazards.


This test is no longer available for credit

Everyone has heard the thunk of a bird hitting a window. It's startling, and then it's sad. But what few of us realize is just how widespread the problem is. Across North America, buildings account for hundreds of millions of bird deaths annually—perhaps more, according to the nonprofit group the American Bird Conservancy. A running estimate of North America's collision-killed birds—posted online by another nonprofit organization, Toronto’s Fatal Light Awareness Program—ticks along at roughly 30 bird deaths per second. After habitat destruction, collisions with buildings are the single biggest killer of birds.

The good news is that, with awareness and know-how, a building can be designed or retrofitted to pose almost no hazard to birds at all.

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Bird-Safe Design

Photo © Chris Cooper


Originally published in Architectural Record