by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Commmunications
Visitors to the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center may notice some new, tiny dots adorning the glass on the building. These dots are special window treatments designed to prevent birds from flying into the windows, an all too common problem. The project is thanks to a partnership between Trees Atlanta and Atlanta Audubon, with a grant from the Disney Conservation Fund.
The dots are a special CollidEscape film that reduces the transparency of the glass and breaks up reflection, preventing bird-window strikes. Each spring and fall, millions of birds migrate between wintering grounds in Central and South America, the southern U.S., or the Caribbean to breeding grounds in North America. Sadly, many never arrive at their destination due to a man-made problem —building collisions. Blinded by night-time lights or confused by day-time reflections of trees and grass in shiny windows, many birds become disoriented and fly into the buildings, ending their journeys and their lives prematurely. A recent study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ranked Atlanta number four during fall migration and number nine during spring migration for the potential for bird-building collisions due high numbers of birds being exposed to nocturnal lighting.
“Since 2015, Atlanta Audubon has been studying bird-building collisions in the metro area through our Project Safe Flight Atlanta Program,” says Adam Betuel, director of conservation for Atlanta Audubon. “Since the program began, we have collected more than 1,400 birds of over 106 different species that have perished due to building collisions.”
The CollidEscape film is applied to a building’s windows and breaks up the reflection, allowing birds to avoid a collision. Roughly 350 square feet of CollidEscape material was used to cover the windows on the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center.
“We have been working with a number of buildings and nature centers in the metro area, like the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center, to treat problematic buildings to protect birds,” says Betuel. “We also hope to educate the people who pass through these buildings about the problem of bird-building collisions and show them that there are many easy solutions to this problem.”
"Trees Atlanta is very excited to be included as a beneficiary of this grant as so much of our mission revolves around the connection of wildlife to Atlanta's urban forest,” says Greg Levine, Co-Executive Director and Chief Program Officer at Trees Atlanta. “Birds play such an integral part in our ecosystem and we're committed to providing and protecting their habitat around the city, including our headquarters, the Kendeda Center.”
In 2018, the Atlanta Audubon Society was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) as part of the Fund’s focus on reversing the decline of threatened wildlife around the world. The conservation grant recognizes Atlanta Audubon’s efforts to reduce bird-building collisions through Project Safe Flight Atlanta, a program to monitor birds and collect data on deaths by collisions, and its companion program, Lights Out Atlanta, to encourage residential and commercial buildings to reduce nighttime lighting to prevent bird deaths.
Atlanta Audubon is working with Trees Atlanta to install CollidEscape at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center with funding received from the DCF. The building was chosen as a demonstration building 1) because they were experiencing bird collisions and 2) the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center has high visitation presenting a unique opportunity to educate the public on steps they can take to reduce bird-window collisions at home.
The Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center is the fifth building to be treated by Atlanta Audubon using grants received from the Disney Conservation Fund and from the Georgia Ornithological Society. Other buildings include the Melvin L. Newman Wetlands Center, Chattahoochee Nature Center, the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, and the Sawnee Mountain Preserve Visitor’s Center. In 2020, Atlanta Audubon will install CollidEscape film at Southface and one other Atlanta location.
About Atlanta Audubon: Atlanta Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
About Trees Atlanta: Trees Atlanta is a nationally recognized nonprofit citizens' group that protects and improves Atlanta’s urban forest by planting, conserving, and educating.