One Building Offers Solution for Bird Deaths Caused by Philadelphia’s Glass Skyline

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Philadelphia’s glass skyline is a death trap for many migrating birds, but one building in Fairmount Park offers a solution, writes Inga Saffron for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Birds often mistake the reflections of trees in windows for the real thing, causing them to fly into them at full speed.

This is far from a problem unique to Philadelphia. Ornithologists estimate that anywhere between 350 million and a billion birds die from this every year nationwide. Now, the current building boom is even threatening the survival of some bird species that are already vulnerable due to disease and habitat loss.

Trying to change this worrying trend is a modest new building that dubs itself the first totally bird-safe building in Philadelphia. The Discovery Center is the new home of two nonprofits that work with nature, Audubon Pennsylvania and Outward Bound. They wanted to enjoy a nice view of the birds while ensuring they do not hit the windows.

Their desires were met, thanks to Philadelphia architect Digsau, which uses technology developed by Daniel Klem, an ornithology professor at Muhlenberg College. He found that birds can more easily recognize glass if it contains translucent lines or dots.

Read more about the innovation in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.


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