Researchers have tried to understand collisions and create strategies to reduce their impact on birds, documenting mortality patterns and how they are influenced by lighting, the amount of glass present, the distribution of nearby vegetation, and other variables. This science has come a long way, but many questions remain unanswered.
ABC is conducting applied research aimed at quantifying the relative threat of different materials and treatments. ABC’s program is based at the Carnegie Museum’s Powdermill Avian Research Center, near Rector, Pennsylvania. There, we test the effectiveness of commercially-available materials for deterring collisions, and investigate how to create effective patterns that cover a minimum of the glass surface.
Testing Slideshow descriptions
1. Birds are caught in mist nets and brought to the station, where they are banded, weighed and measured.
2. Once banded, birds are brought out to ‘the tunnel’ – an apparatus 10 meters long. Birds are introduced into the tunnel and fly towards the samples being tested (a net stops them from actually hitting the glass). As they fly, they are videotaped, as well as observed by the tunnel operator.
3. Birds’ responses to different patterns and materials are tested in ‘the tunnel’, seen here. The mirrors reflect light on to the front surface of glass samples. The door (covered with black felt to stop light leakage) opens to release the bird after its flight.
4. A view of glass set up for testing in the tunnel. Birds have their choice of trying to exit the tunnel through the clear (invisible) glass or through the sample, in this case a panel of insulated, fritted glass. The score for the sample is the percentage of birds tested that fly towards the clear glass. We test a minimum of 80 birds per sample.