Twenty creative bird enthusiasts created their own custom hanging ornaments to deter bird strikes from windows last Wednesday night.

Wildlife Technician Scott Cameron presented about how we can best deter birds from injury due to window collisions. In Yukon, we have 329 species of birds, 195 of which are confirmed breeding in the territory.

The issue with windows is that glass tricks birds – they see reflections of trees or sky, potted plants on the inside of windows, or a straight through view (out another window) and believe that they can fly through. A 2013 study* showed that there are 25 million bird deaths annually in Canada due to window collisions (Aside: according to the same study, cats kill 100-350 million birds annually in Canada – so best to keep ‘ol Garfield inside or on a leash).

So, how can we make windows safer? FLAP Canada (http://flap.org) is a North American leader in research and applications to reduce bird mortality from window strikes. They have four standards to follow in the design of any bird strike deterrent:

  1. Density and coverage: Have a visual marker every 4 inches vertically or 2 inches horizontally, and cover the entire window.
  2. Contrast: the marker must stand out compared to the window.
  3. Size: Whatever visual marker you use, it should be larger than 1/8 inch.
  4.  Outside of Window: The marker must be on the outside to be effective.

At the workshop, participants created laser cut bird ornaments to hang on contrasting ribbons placed 4 inches apart outside their windows. The creative juices were flowing and some gorgeous ornaments emerged!

And by the way, were you wondering what you can do if a bird does hit the window – alive, but injured? Using gloves, place the bird gently inside a paper bag or cardboard box (unwaxed). Leave in a quiet location away from people and pets. Don’t give the bird food or water. If you are worried about the bird, contact Environment Yukon (867-667-5652 or 1-800-661-0525).

YuKonstruct thanks the Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust and Scott Cameron from Environment Yukon for helping to put on this workshop!

*Quantifying Human-related Mortality of Birds in Canada (2013). Avian Conservation & Ecology. www.ace-eco.org/issues/view.php?sf=4