By Shani Kleinhaus
Special to the Mercury News
POSTED: 07/02/2014 11:47:41 AM PDT5 COMMENTS| UPDATED: 4 DAYS AGO
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.