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This Beautiful Window Art Also Saves Birds’ Lives

Bird-meets-window collisions are no small problem. Annually, 100 million to 1 billion birds meet their maker thanks to an encounter with glass. And while there are plenty of window decals out there meant to alert birds to the imminent danger, most of them aren’t exactly attractive. But now a group of art students are working [...]

Bird collision-proof window art, by student Jill Schlegel. Photo: J. Schlegel and Temple University

Bird-meets-window collisions are no small problem. Annually, 100 million to 1 billion birds meet their maker thanks to an encounter with glass. And while there are plenty of window decals out there meant to alert birds to the imminent danger, most of them aren’t exactly attractive. But now a group of art students are working on beautiful bird-themed window art as a solution to this unseen deathtrap.

Audubon Magazine’s Susan Cosier reports the chirpy tale:

Ninety-six pieces of 13-by-19-inch transparent film lined windows at Philadelphia’s Temple University this past spring, each donning an artful illustration designed to make the glass more visible to birds.

The Audubon Society helped arrange a window art exhibit complete with prizes for the best design. The creative students’ masterpieces feature such feathery themes as origami cranes and musical notes from a  composition called “The Cardinal.”

“From the sublime to the whimsical, it was all very inventive,” says Alice Drueding, Tyler’s graphic and interactive design head.

The students aren’t just going for aesthetics, either. They follow strict guidelines on how to prevent bird strikes with windows, and hope their efforts will prove a successful tool for saving birds from an untimely demise. Businesses are already picking up on the concept.

 Surface Care, a New York–based company, is interested in printing and testing some of the films at Temple, where Russell will monitor their effectiveness. “We want to get the data so that we can say yes, they’re not only pretty,” Russell says, “but they work.”

Given that the carcasses of an estimated 90,000 birds — many of them temporary migrants — litter New York City’s streets each year, a little art could go a long way in preventing the Big Apple from becoming those feathery visitor’s last and final stop.

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Perils of Bird-Plane Collisions 

Rare Copy of Audubon’s Birds of America For Sale 

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