ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Safe Skies Maryland recently partnered to install special window treatments that reduce and prevent bird collisions with windows at the department’s Tawes State Office Building headquarters in Annapolis.
With up to 1 billion birds killed every year by striking windows, studies have proven the effectiveness of special window treatments applied to commercial and residential structures in reducing bird deaths.
Birds strike windows because they see a reflection of themselves or trees in them, or they think it’s open space because they can see through the glass. The Tawes State Office Building is a four-story structure built in the early 1970s and includes on its grounds the Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden, a forested urban park that is home to many species of birds.
Safe Skies Maryland, an initiative of the Maryland Ornithological Society, teamed with DNR to install Acopian Bird Saver cords and dot stickers from manufacturer Feather Friendly. Both applications are barely visible to the human eye from a distance, but will allow birds to see the glass and avoid it.
“We’re extremely grateful for the volunteers and staff that helped us complete this project,” said Claudia Donegan, habitat restoration and conservation director for DNR’s Chesapeake and Coastal Service. “After observing so many bird strikes, given our professional purpose of conserving wildlife, we looked for a solution to make sure our office building itself supports our mission and goals.”
The Maryland Park Service, which manages Tawes Garden, provided funding for the installation and is encouraging building owners to protect birds by adding these treatments to their windows. Staff and volunteers will monitor the effort’s success in reducing bird strikes.
“Everyone has heard, seen, or knows about birds hitting windows, they just don’t know that it happens so often, with a major environmental impact,” Safe Skies Maryland Director Carolyn Parsa said. “Ideally, buildings would be installed with bird-safe glass. It’s less of a hassle, and even more energy efficient than regular glass. But there are plenty of retrofit options out there, and word is spreading.”
More information about bird safe windows is available on the DNR website.