As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Birds and glass: San Jose can prevent needless deaths of birds with building rules

By Shani Kleinhaus
Special to the Mercury News

When Orion, a 7-week-old fledgling Peregrine falcon collided with a window at San Jose City Hall last year, the many Bay Area residents who follow the life story of Clara and her mate Fernando El Cohete on the City Hall webcam went into mourning.

In fact fledglings and migratory birds comprise the majority of the hundreds of millions of birds that die tragically each year because of collisions with glass building facades and windows -- many thousands of birds in this area. The Pacific Flyway passes right through the heart of San Jose.

As glass buildings are transforming the landscape of the South Bay, San Jose is considering an important step toward protecting its resident and migratory avian species from this fate.

Birds strike glass because they cannot see it as an obstacle. They fly into reflections of trees and sky, or attempt to fly through transparent glass walls. Collision with glass is now implicated in the decline of many migratory species in the U.S., second only to the loss of habitat.

Much of the carnage can be avoided by purposeful and pleasing design and architecture.

Glass solutions are available to integrate light management with bird safety, incorporate ceramic lines or UV patterns into the glass or otherwise increase the visibility of the glass to birds. Other solutions manage the interaction between landscaping and glass to avoid "death trap" combinations.

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