Birds can fly safer around Springside Chestnut Hill Academy thanks to third graders who installed a window film with a pattern of white polka dots. On May 11 students at the school, which partnered with Bird Safe Philly, applied the window film in an effort to keep birds from getting injured or killed in collisions with the glass.
Glass windows haven’t been around long enough for birds to evolve a recognition that what looks like a tree is sometimes an illusion. Approximately 600 million birds die per year in the United States by colliding with windows. (On the long list of ways humans kill birds, window collision ranks second only to house cats, which kill about 2.4 billion.) Windows that reflect outside vegetation or have vegetation on the other side that is visible to the birds — as with glass railings or walkways — are particularly lethal.
Fortunately, window glass can be made safer by adding patterns that birds perceive as solid. This can be done with netting or strings hanging in front of the window, with patterns painted onto the window surface, or with patterned stickers or films.
The students at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy used a film from Feather Friendly, according to Stephanie Egger, a volunteer with Bird Safe Philly whose daughter attends the school and who helped organize the event along with teachers Marianne Maloy, Anya Rose and Carie Szalay.
“I liked putting on dots because they were fun to stick onto the wall. I learned that birds could bump into windows,” said one of the students.