Sorry I can't muster much enthusiasm about the development of a new window glass
as an "apparent solution" to the problem of bird mortality caused from building
collisions. I don't expect we will see a significant number of volunteers
retrofitting their homes and commercial buildings, especially at a higher cost.
Moreover, I suspect a large portion of the mortality figures are migrants
striking buildings and other structures at night. I remember a casual survey
conducted at the Prudential building in Boston during the 70's, every morning
during migration to collect the bodies of birds that struck the building the
previous night. Numbers were especially heavy on foggy nights (common there)
and attributed to the lights and beacons that attracted the birds. As far as I
know, the carnage continues there, and it's unlikely if the Prudential changed
all its windows to the new glass that the situation would dramatically change.
A more important lesson for us all can be found in the recommended article found
at www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf which details the cumulative
annual mortality of North American birds from human-related causes at 1.5
billion birds, or roughly 15% of the NA breeding population. The woods are
becoming noticeably quieter. At these rates of decline we need to be thinking
about immediate solutions and not banking on ideas that will take decades to
From: Scott Sainsbury <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sun, August 29, 2010 6:36:27 PM
Subject: [VTBIRD] Warning to Birds: All-Glass Buildings Ahead
To: New York Times -- Novelties
Re: Article: Warning to Birds: All-Glass Buildings Ahead
I read your article on new developments in glass to help birds avoid collisions
Thank you for reporting this hopeful bit of news.
I would like to respectfully suggest, however, that the article might have been
made more impactful by letting readers understand the scope of this problem.
According to a US Fish and Wildlife release (see link below), between 97 and 976
million birds are killed each year in building strikes. As you might imagine,
that kind of loss makes sustaining populations of many bird species precarious.
The higher number represents nearly 5% of the entire North American breeding
bird population. If we were to remove 5% per year in perpetuity of any species
on earth, the impact would be devastating.
Here's a huge man-made problem, and an apparent solution in hand. That's cause
for support for its implementation, and celebration of the biologic and moral
result. Thanks again for giving it "ink".