An online argument has been simmering for a few years now regarding the need (or not) for legislation to prevent the mass slaughter of birds which as a species haven’t evolved to deal with glass.
New York City ecologists are stating that billions of birds are killed every year as they collide with buildings. In 2019, a local New York city building code was updated, to make new glass buildings over 23 metres tall, safer for birds, by requiring surfaces to be patterned. In context, all of the tallest buildings in the world already built and those in the planning stage are designed with enormous amounts of glass or mirrors led by either an architectural vision or the clients demands. Transparent structures like greenhouses and bus stops have always been seen as a problem since there is no reflection at all, but mirrored surfaces, which shows the birds a reflection of trees, is why most bird strikes happen at lower levels.
Ecologists are also saying that light pollution also goes hand in hand with the confusion birds suffer. Artificial light at night inside and around large buildings as a means to show them off, means birds will be active longer during the day and become exhausted and disorientated.
Fritted glass is a solution for the architects and their clients, this is a glass which is produced by fusing ceramic frits into the glass surface and can be done in thousands of shapes and be of translucent or opaque hues. Some buildings like the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan have retrofitted the clear glass panels for fritted ones and although not instantly discernible to the casual viewer, has resulted in 90% less bird strike deaths since its installation.
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