U of M, San Diego Zoo test window film on campus to slow bird collisions

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Strips of film that are essentially invisible to humans may help prevent birds from crashing into glass windows – but research into the method is lacking.

So the University of Minnesota and San Diego Zoo teamed up for a study on the U's campus, to help determine how promising the strips might be.

It's basically a window film, with strips of UV-reflective material, the University of Minnesota said in a news release. (Birds can see UV light, humans can't.)

https://twitter.com/umnCVM/status/682301473942847489

The hope is that birds see the strips and realize they have to go around it, while also not restricting humans' view through the glass.

How well it will work isn't really known. Up until now, the U says, tests with the UV strips have been "artificial" – this will be the first "real-world" test of its effectiveness.

Minnesota’s Audubon Society says that birds are vulnerable from glass buildings during the day as they do not always appear as obstacles on flightpaths. At night, lit-up glass buildings attract birds that are flying.

The UV film is in three spots on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campus – the most deadly areas on campus, U technician Stephanie Beard said:

  • The skyway between Blegen Hall and Social Sciences Hall;
  • And on north-facing windows at Coffey Hall and Ruttan Hall.

In addition to the film, there are shock sensors and video cameras to help record and analyze data. And nearby windows were untreated (either with non-UV film, or no film at all) to help compare results.

The Star Tribune spoke more with Beard about the project. KARE says the strips will stay in place for a couple years.

Why is this a concern?

Approximately 988 million birds die annually in the U.S. as a result of crashing into buildings, some researchers say.

And the University of Minnesota campus sits right near the Mississippi River, part of a repeatedly used route (called the Mississippi Flyway) for millions of migrating birds every year. That ups the chance of a collision.

Sharon Stiteler, who you might know by her moniker Birdchick, has written about this in the past, when questions about the new Vikings stadium and its bird-safety measures were brought up.

In the post, she included this photo:

The blue spots are flocks of birds, so big they get picked up on radar. And as she points out, there's a giant blue spot right over the Twin Cities region.

The Audobon Society has said volunteers have noted more than 125 different species of native migratory birds that have fatally collided with downtown Twin Cities buildings since 2007.

On Twitter, Stiteler called the U of M study a "step in the right direction."

https://twitter.com/birdchick/status/682266187342954500

A study by the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History found that 44 percent of all bird deaths in St. Paul were caused by just two buildings along the migratory path it was monitoring, while in Minneapolis two buildings accounted for 67 percent of deaths.

Next Up

DirecTV

DirecTV subscribers could lose KARE 11 on Tuesday

A new contract needs to be agreed upon by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

prison, Rush City cell block

Inmate from Rush City prison dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The man is the fifth incarcerated person in Minnesota to die from COVID-19.

ambulance

Belle Plaine man dies after duck boat capsizes on lake

One man was found sitting on the overturned boat while another man was in the water.

Screen Shot 2020-11-29 at 4.59.51 PM

Watch: Adam Thielen watches end of Vikings/Panthers just like all of us

The Vikings receiver looked like a true fan on Sunday afternoon.

Chad Beebe

Chad Beebe's roller-coaster fourth-quarter keeps Vikings playoff hopes alive

A muffed punt and a game-winning touchdown helped defeat the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

127266986_2766399800267634_3587849554502438415_n

West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.

EDL1LeKXsAEeH32

How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Man, 21, in custody after Albert Lea police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.

Related