Fish & Wildlife seeks to reduce deadly bird strikes at Hadley office building


HADLEY — The federal agency responsible for protecting birds and other wildlife is moving to use more bird-friendly materials in its office buildings, starting with its Northeast Regional Office in Hadley.

This week, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintenance crews are upgrading visual markers on the Hadley Office Building’s 8,000 square feet of glass, designed specifically to help birds tell the difference between glass and open spaces. . By installing the visual markers, the agency hopes to prevent birds from crashing into windows, which is a major contributor to the decline of the bird population in North America, said Pam Toschik, who leads the bird program. agency migrants in the northeast.

“Since 1970, more than one in four birds — nearly 3 billion birds — have been lost in North America. While there are many causes for this decline such as habitat loss, invasive species and cat predation, collisions are a major contributor,” Toschik said.

Reducing bird collisions is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s partnership on the Three Billion Birds Initiative, which is a focused effort to conserve and restore healthy bird populations throughout the hemisphere. Other partners include the American Bird Conservatory, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

Why do birds fly in windows?

Glass windows are dangerous for birds because they reflect the environment around them such as forest, clouds or the sky, Toschik said. Because birds are unable to distinguish the difference between the reflective surface and open space, they assume the reflection is open space and fly straight into the glass.

Tall glass skyscrapers are responsible for some of the bird fatalities, but more often bird strikes occur within 20 feet of ground level in homes and low-rise buildings, a- she declared.

Once they hit the window, the birds can be temporarily stunned and survive a non-fatal injury. However, in many cases the birds are killed immediately and never fly away, she said.

“Although they can temporarily fly, birds with even moderate injuries are much more vulnerable to predators and other environmental hazards,” Toschik said.

Hadley’s office staff collected data on the number of birds flying through the building and discovered that there were 30 different species, including some rare species in the area. Toschik cited the yellow-billed cuckoo and the black-billed cuckoo as two particular species that have been affected.

feather friendly

To better advocate for bird-friendly initiatives, Toschik said it’s important to start at home. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leases its northeast regional office in Hadley to William Keavany of Pearson Properties, and was able to negotiate the installation of a product that Toschik said would remain aesthetically pleasing while having a significant impact on reducing deadly bird strikes on the building.

From more than 100 bird strike prevention products on the market, the federal agency selected Feather Friendly, a company headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The company has also installed its product at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

The product features a pattern of markings spaced 2 inches apart and applied to the exterior of windows that break down and reduce surface glare for birds while maintaining a low visual impact on people, according to Allen Peake, logistics management at the agency.

The service went through a hands-on training program to perfect the job, applying visual markers to forward-facing windows at the 500-square-foot Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland, Peake said.

With federal agency crews installing the product, Peake said there are significant savings for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The Hadley project costs around $60,000, according to Peake.

Hadley’s office is one of 4,000 buildings the agency oversees nationwide that will be assessed to see if further renovations are needed to become bird-friendly. Currently, the agency is halfway through assessing which buildings pose the highest risk of bird fatalities.

In addition to the markers, the main entrance to the building also features bird silhouette decals created by visual artist Maggie Nowinski, who has a studio in the Paragon Arts and Industry Building in Easthampton. Although the project strays from its overarching visual language, Nowinski said there is also a formal and conceptual connection to his own work.

“The project gave me the opportunity to research various regional birds and flora and reduce the images into shapes to create an overarching pattern,” she said in an emailed statement. “The USFWS seeks to protect these living birds, fish, and ecosystems and I wanted to infuse the design with a sense of vitality, movement, and connectedness. There are significant variations and also repetitions in each panel design. hoped to visually convey a kind of symmetry and wildness simultaneously.

According to Peake’s forecast, the work should take about two weeks and should be completed later this week.

Emily Thurlow can be contacted at ethur [email protected]


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