Draw Your Blinds to Save Our Birds

September 19, 2018

Fall is approaching and waves of migrating birds pass through this region soon after sunset. Although some fast fliers, such as finches, swallows, birds of prey, are considered diurnal, or daytime migrants, most of the smaller bird species migrate at night, using the moon, the stars and natural landmarks to navigate. The fall marks the peak of the warbler migration that typically occurs between September 7 and September 22, depending on weather conditions.

 The warbler is a small songbird and is a nocturnal migrant.                                    


Unfortunately and sadly, the new developments in our community, including Cornell Tech and

Hudson Related, feature great quantities of reflective glass. Birds will fly towards false images of trees or sky that they see in the reflective glass surfaces of buildings. I strongly urge these developers to add bird friendly features to existing and future structures.


Some examples of bird friendly features include exterior decorative grills and fritted glass, which is patterned glass. The recently renovated Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is a terrific example of a building with bird friendly features. After pleas from New York City Audubon, a local chapter of the advocacy group that champions wild birds and habitat in the five boroughs, the architects, FXFowle, designed retrofitting that included less reflective glass and a dot pattern. It transformed from one of the deadliest structures into one of the most hospitable ones for birds. The building used to be the largest bird killer in New York City.


Birds colliding with windows results every year in million of birds dead in North America alone. Most of them are songbirds. Birds are dangerously attracted to the lights left on in apartment buildings and they would collide with every size of glass window, door and lobby. Reflective glass windows present deceptive images of trees, water etc. that a bird may fly towards. Because bright lights can disorient nocturnal migrating birds, please TURN OFF interior lights that are unnecessary during this fall migration season.


New York is a major stopover for migratory birds on the Atlantic flyway, and an estimated 90,000 birds are killed by flying into buildings in New York City each year.







          Northern Flicker before and after a collision with glass.                                               The northern flicker is a medium-sized bird of the woodpecker family. Native to most of North America, it is one of the few woodpecker species that migrate.                                                                                                                                                                                  North America’s migratory birds are facing a tremendous decline in population every year, near a billion birds are estimated to be killed after slamming into buildings covered in reflective glass in the United States. It is vital that we do what we can to minimize/eliminate these dangers whenever possible. One way would be to mitigate these deadly collisions. How can we help save birds lives?


Birds, much like humans, do not necessarily perceive clear glass as an obstruction so we have to make the glass obvious; we have to make our windows visible to birds. Here are some helpful tips:


  • Draw your blinds and curtains during migratory seasons and move indoor plants and away from the windows

  • Ask your management to clear glass lobbies just for this time of the year. Glass windows are the greatest threat to migratory birds!

  • Hang ornaments in your windows; use chimes, decals or markers or draw streaks with a highlighter (you will not see it but the birds will) or the simplest way, with a bar soap draw streaks and after the migration, you will easily washed it out.

Most importantly, should a bird hit your window, gently pick it up and place it inside a paper bag or a small cardboard box with small air holes. Do not offer the bird food or water. Place the bird in a quiet location away from people and pets.


Email the Wildlife Freedom Foundation at wffny.info@gmail.com or go to our website and contact us there.


These simple measures along with larger scale ones can help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the magnificent wildlife we are lucky to have around and observe now.

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