Millions of songbirds hatched in Wisconsin over the summer will fly south for the first time starting in September, and bird conservation groups are asking Wisconsin residents to act now to prevent the migrating birds from colliding with home windows during fall migration.
The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership is offering two free webinars on Aug. 23, 2023, to demonstrate three easy ways residents can prevent birds from colliding with home windows as migration builds in September and October. The webinars are part of a campaign called “Stop the Fallout” being led by the partnership, a collaboration of 180 organizations in Wisconsin committed to sustaining the state’s native birds.
The webinars are free and will be offered at noon and 7 pm on Aug. 23. Register here.
As part of the campaign, manufacturers of two popular home-window solutions -- Acopian BirdSavers and Feather Friendly -- are offering discounts to Wisconsin residents.
Acopian BirdSavers, also known as Zen Wind Curtains, consists of a curtain of parachute cord that hangs on the outside of windows. Feather Friendly offers a selection of adhesive markers that are applied directly to the outside of windows. When the backing is removed, a grid of dots or small squares is left behind. Both products have been tested and found effective by the American Bird Conservancy.
Details about the special discounts are available on the Stop the Fallout website.
In addition, local groups are hosting follow-up events to give people a chance to see solutions in person and to ask questions of local bird lovers who have installed solutions on their home windows. A list of these events can be found on the SOS Save Our Songbirds website.
North American birds at risk
North American bird populations have declined significantly over the past 50 years, and birds colliding with windows is a major threat. Research has shown that nearly one billion birds die every year in the US after colliding with windows, nearly half of them home windows.
Such collisions can happen year-round, but research shows they are worse during spring and fall migration. The toll is greatest during fall migration for two reasons: Not only are adults flying south, but young, less experienced birds hatched earlier in the summer are making their first journeys.
“Birds colliding with windows is a big problem everywhere, and some people don’t realize their windows may be killing birds,” says Karen Etter Hale, who chairs the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership. “These webinars are a great chance to find out what you can easily do to address one window that is the biggest problem for birds, and to take action before songbirds begin migrating this fall.”
The webinars will be presented by Brenna Marsicek, coordinator of Madison Audubon’s volunteer Bird Collision Corps, which monitors buildings in the Madison area during spring and fall migration to document birds killed in collisions with windows. Corps members work with building owners to address the deadliest windows for birds.
Marsicek, who also serves as Madison Audubon’s director of communications, will talk about why birds collide with windows and which windows are likely the biggest problem. She'll demonstrate three easy ways to prevent collisions: dot decals, a curtain of paracord, and using tempera, or washable paint, to make designs on windows to break up reflections. She'll also cover why some methods, such as placing a single silhouette of a raptor or a few decals on the inside of a window, don't work well.
The webinar will be offered twice on Aug. 23, 2023: at noon and 7 pm. Register today!