[Tweeters] Windows: the "ghost nets" of land

Christine Southwick clsouth at u.washington.edu
Wed Aug 25 09:07:29 PDT 2010


Kelly,

Have you thought of suggesting hanging FINE netting or hardware cloth over the side of the glass walkway? Is there a specific section that has a higher impact rate? Perhaps that area could have the screening in front of it--or maybe even just some poles with streamers (call it art!) so that the birds will fly around that area.

I have given a lot of thought to this issue. I currently have a screen porch that I plan to later convert into a "Four-Season" sitting area. Lots of glass--excellent viewing for my bird watching--but I don't want to create flying hazards for the birds. In researching this problem, I found that UV "window decals" are an improvement over other decals, but still leave much to be desired. Visible physical barriers seem to be the best solution.

Christine Southwick
N Seattle/Shoreline
clsouthwick at pugetsoundbirds.org
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On Tue, 24 Aug 2010, Kelly Cassidy wrote:


> Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2010 18:29:58 -0700

> From: Kelly Cassidy <lostriver at completebbs.com>

> To: tweeters at u.washington.edu,

> 'Inland NW Birders' <inland-nw-birders at uidaho.edu>

> Subject: [Tweeters] Windows: the "ghost nets" of land

>

>

> Ghost nets are lost, drifting fishing nets that continue to kill animals that get entangled in them.

>

>  

>

> On the Washington State University campus, there is a glass-enclosed walkway between the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of Heald and

> Abelson.  I work in the museum in Abelson.  The walkway has long provided a steady source of birds for the museum, one that we

> would rather not have.   It is an indiscriminate killer.

>

>  

>

> August 18, I picked up a dead Wilson’s Warbler from below the walkway.  As I was entering it into our record book and bagging

> it for the freezer, I saw that Dick Johnson and Paul Schroeder had added 2 Wilson’s Warblers from below the walkway, both on

> August 5. An hour or so later on August 18, I picked up yet another Wilson’s Warbler from below the walkway.

>

>  

>

> I don’t normally check under the walkway for birds; I only pick them up when I happen to see them.  With such a high number of

> Wilson’s Warblers in a short period of time, I started doing more deliberate searches and trying to remember to check every

> couple of hours or so. 

>

>  

>

> This morning about 9:30, I picked up yet another Wilson’s Warbler.  (They must be in a migration peak.)  About 10:30, I was

> talking to someone under the walkway we had said “A bird just fell to the ground behind you.”  This victim was a Red-breasted

> Nuthatch that was still alive, but stunned.  I put him in a covered bird cage in a dark room.  I was not optimistic, as most

> birds that aren’t killed outright in window kills have traumatic head injuries.  I was pleasantly surprised when I checked on

> him an hour later.  He was one of the lucky ones.  He was flying around his cage, not having any obvious troubles with

> coordination or flying into the bars. I let him loose outside where he zipped way up in the air and disappeared. 

>

>  

>

> Not long after that good outcome, I found a not-so-lucky dead sparrow.  I had to carefully compare it with the museum

> specimens to ID it as a juvenile Chipping Sparrow. 

>

>  

>

> Dr. Daniel Klem has been researching window-kills and how to prevent them since the 1990s.  He has a website with links to

> recent research at:

>

>  

>

> http://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/biology/faculty/klem/ACO/GlassHome.htm

>

>  

>

> The research is not encouraging, but the most discouraging aspect of window kills is the seeming apathy among

> conservationists.  Klem (and others) believe that, after habitat loss, window strikes are the second largest human-caused

> killers of birds.  In the US, windows passively kill hundreds of millions, maybe as many as a billion birds per year. 

>

>  

>

> Turns out, the Heald-Abelson skywalk is the worst possible type of window situation, namely, it consists of large panes of

> glass near vegetation.  (The huge glass skyscrapers are not nearly so deadly as windows closer to the ground at vegetation

> level.)  Worse, birds can see vegetation on the other side of the skywalk from both sides.

>

>  

>

> I confess to apathy myself, probably for the same reason most other conservationists are apathetic to the situation.  There is

> simply too much glass and too many people adding more glass every year.

>

>  

>

> Very depressing.

>

>  

>

>  

>

> Kelly Cassidy

>

> Pullman, WA

>

>  

>

>

>

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