Don’t Kill the Messenger; A Crash Course on Safe Guarding your Windows for Birds

  • Location
    Austin, Texas
  • Status

The Problem

To create a 24/7/365 window collision-free urban environment for our feathered friends.

Our Plan

Living on a greenbelt in Steiner Ranch for the last three years, we were stunned by how many birds we found dead or injured on our patio after slamming into the enormous picture windows that provide a great view of the Lake and other counties as far as your eye can see. Unfortunately, not such a great view for the huge population of native and migratory birds – some endangered - that traverse the area only to find themselves face planted into a wall of windows. For birds, glass windows are worse than invisible. They reflect trees or sky, and look like perfectly normal places to fly into. And because the sheer number of large and looming picture windows in the Steiner Ranch area is so great, their toll on birds is huge. According to the American Bird Conservancy, up to about 1 billion birds die from window strikes in the U.S. each year. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to greatly reduce the danger a window might post to birds with some simple remedies, according to the Conservancy’s Bird Collisions Program. The group offers extensive information on preventing window collisions on its website and our APES group would like to scope out one or two of them to see if we can institute an all out awareness or CRASH COURSE program as we head into peek birding seasons of the fall and winter. Why would we want to create a crash course for reducing window collisions? Birds are of major importance to many, if not all ecosystems – including this little section of Summer Visit in Steiner Ranch. They are integral parts of food chains and food webs and provide crucial ecosystem services. They help with pest control, keep farmers in business with seed control. They protect our drinking water by preventing erosion and therefore help to slow the spread of disease. They keep household industries supplied with lumber and help us monitor the environment for potentially catastrophic events. Not to mention, they provide enjoyment and some have even been used to transport messages – hence the name of our program, “Don’t Kill the Messenger.” Our program will be one of awareness and education on how individuals or whole communities can work together to safeguard our important birding population from death by window! Ultimately our goal is to create a 24/7/365 collision free urban environment for our feathered friends. Our step-by-step, do-it-yourself guide for collision-proofing our homes will include many of the ideas below: •Adapt the Canadian based FLAP organizations bird brochure and place a customized, digital file on the well-used and visited Steiner Ranch HOA website. •Reach out to Four Points News and the Steiner HOA magazine to publish an article and “HOW TO RESOURCE” •Reach out to the Birding Groups that operate out of Steiner Ranch with a mini presentation where we outline our goals and overall program ideas asking them give additional wings to our efforts so we can fly far beyond the geographic boundaries of our neighborhood, city and state. •Work with Home Depot, an area retailer that sells a variety of vertical window masking for bird collision prevention, on the creation of an educational display we can post onsite and/or on their website. Possibly conduct a special, free to the public program at the store site in conjunction with a sale on feeders and of course, window masking products. •Contact Steiner Ranch real estate groups, builders and remodelers and ask them to email the digital flyer to their customer dbase and/or to place the digital flyer on their websites. These groups have the capacity to be a huge influence on their customers who may not realize how the position of their windows, choice of window materials and placement of trees, etc. can have on the birds in their community.

Themes Addressed

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The Benefit

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