Since 2004, Temple has been conducting research on bird collisions with campus building windows. Philadelphia is situated along the Atlantic Flyway migration route and bird collisions into windows are a major problem. Birds do not perceive glass as a solid object. They see a reflection of their habitat or nothing at all causing the bird to collide with the window and either die from impact or become injured. Philadelphia bird collisions occur primarily during the spring and fall migrations (March 15 - June 15 and August 15 - November 30).
Campus Mitigation Efforts
Collision Survey: In addition to Temple’s counting efforts, Audubon Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Zoo organized a survey of bird collisions in the spring of 2009 on Temple’s Main Campus. The buildings that had the most number of collisions on Main Campus are those that use highly reflective glass, buildings with vegetation situated close to windows or buildings with transparent or reflective glass walkways.
Hawk Models: In the spring of 2010, eight 2-dimensional, life-sized models of bird eating hawks were created from photos and mounted on four collision prone buildings at Temple to see if bird collision rates were reduced in areas where the models were erected. This method of preventing bird collisions had never been tried before anywhere else in the world. This mitigation method was not effective at reducing bird strikes.
Window Film: Research has shown that birds will avoid flying through spaces that are 2” high or less and 4” wide or less (2x4 rule). Window patterns that follow the 2x4 rule can be an effective means of mitigating bird collisions.
Window film has been tested in a variety of locations on Main Campus though student projects and research, including:
- Tyler Graphic Design students designed patterns for window film in a juried competition. The winning design was installed on the Tuttleman-Paley connector walkway windows in partnership with SurfaceCare.
- Student research project in Beury Hall, first floor west entrance and glass corridor where translucent squares and designs were installed on windows. Click to read more.
As of August 2015, window film has been installed on three campus buildings (Tuttleman-Paley bridge, Gladfelter Hall mezzanine level and Ritter Hall at the Rad Dish Cafe).
Window Netting: Window netting has been an effective and low-cost method of mitigating bird deaths and injuries by allowing birds to bounce off a taut net and not strike the window. A 2012 student research project aimed to test the effectiveness of window netting installed on buildings. Click to read more.
Fritted Glass: The installation of high density fritted glass has shown to be an effective method of mitigating bird strikes. Fritted glass has been installed on portions of Morgan Hall which opened in August 2013. Monitoring began in 2014 to determine the effectiveness of this mitigation strategy for Temple’s campus and has so far shown positive results.
Design Guidelines: Bird-friendly design guidelines have been incorporated into Temple's 2014 Master Plan.
Creating campus awareness of bird-window collisions has been an important aspect of mitigation efforts undertaken on campus. Through collaborative efforts, news articles, informational signage and presentations, Temple is spreading the word about its efforts to reduce bird deaths. Click below to view some examples:
- Sullivan Hall display
- GRID Magazine: When Art and Birds (Don't) Collide
- College of Liberal Arts light switch campaign
- 2016 World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities Conference at MIT