New Solution Being Tested to Save Temple’s Birds

Temple University has been faced with the problem of birds striking windows around campus, killing hundreds of birds yearly. Now, a new mitigation effort is being tested on the sky bridge between the Paley Library and Tuttleman walkway.

The abundance of glass in Temple’s urban environment is in the pathway of the bird’s migration route. The birds see the reflection of their habitat in the windows, thus causing them to strike the glass.

“I thought the numbers were a little surprising and since I had to pick them up anyway, I really just thought well let me just take one extra step, we’ll kind of keep track” said Glenn Eck, the Superintendent of Grounds for Temple University, who first noticed the issue in 2004.

With the problem identified, ideas of possible solutions arose.

Protective Film
A protective film, above, is being tested to deter bird from flying into windows.

In the spring of 2010, Temple mounted life-sized models of bird-eating hawks on four of the university buildings that birds frequently collided with. Their hopes were to deter the birds from flying near the windows through fear, but the mitigation effort proved ineffective at reducing the bird strikes.

It was back to the drawing board to help the birds, and this time, the Office of Sustainability joined forces with the Tyler School of Art and proposed a new solution.

Research has shown that birds avoid flying into small spaces. With a window pattern that mimics small spaces, birds would avoid flying into the window. Temple University decided to put this research into effect.

The Tyler School of Art Graphic and Interactive Design Program had a competition to create the best pattern for the window film. Ninety-two people submitted designs for the project and Molly Denisevicz created the winning project.

Her design has recently been placed on the sky bridge between Paley Library and the Tuttleman Learning Center.

“I really, I think it’s a clever design and its gotten a lot of great review and feedback from being up at Tuttleman,” said Katherine Elmhurst, the Project Manager at Temple’s Office of Sustainability, who was one of the voters on the panel.

The project will not be able to officially be tested until the migration season arrives in early March, but for now it is a design that both humans and birds can appreciate.

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