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How researchers check bird-friendly glass designs


Window collisions are one of many single-biggest causes of demise for birds, accounting for as much as 1 billion fatalities a 12 months in the US alone. Fortunately, demand for bird-friendly glass is on the rise because of rising consciousness of the problem and new bird-safe constructing insurance policies in locations like New York Metropolis. To satisfy this demand, American Fowl Conservancy (ABC) is increasing its capability to check bird-friendly glass designs.

Final fall, North America’s second-ever bird-friendly glass testing tunnel debuted at Foreman’s Department Fowl Observatory in Chestertown, Maryland. The brand new tunnel, which is collectively run by Washington Faculty and ABC, greater than doubles the variety of glass designs that may be examined by ABC for bird-friendliness every year. As the primary testing tunnel situated on a campus, the brand new tunnel additionally offers faculty college students a hands-on take a look at how conservation analysis could be put into motion to avoid wasting birds’ lives.  

Tunnel technician Meghan McHenry of Washington Faculty holds a pane of glass to be examined within the tunnel. Picture courtesy Washington Faculty

ABC and the Powdermill Avian Analysis Heart first started testing glass with a tunnel at a bird-banding station in Rector, Pennsylvania, in 2010, the place researchers developed a rigorous course of. In every trial, a chicken is caught domestically by licensed chicken banders, then launched into one finish of the 24-foot-long tunnel. The chicken flies towards the sunshine on the different finish, the place a check pane and a transparent glass pane positioned facet by facet current a selection. ABC assigns the glass a “Materials Risk Issue” rating based mostly on the variety of trials by which a chicken flies towards the check pane (every pattern is examined 80 to 100 occasions). The extra usually birds keep away from the check pane, the extra doubtless they’ll see the bird-safe alteration and keep away from the glass within the wild. Examined birds safely bounce off a mist web earlier than reaching the glass, and every chicken is launched again into the wild after a single check flight.

Through the fall migration season final 12 months, Washington Faculty employed a latest graduate as a tunnel technician to guide testing efforts. Below her steering, the school ran greater than 2,500 check flights and authorised 10 new glass designs after testing samples from producers within the U.S., U.Okay., Brazil, Germany, Turkey, and South Korea. This spring and summer time, a mixed complete of greater than 20 glass samples will probably be examined on the Pennsylvania and Maryland tunnel places.

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