Art Aims to Protect Birds from Glass

Illustration by Jill Schlegel

Art Aims to Protect Birds from Glass

College students design films to prevent birds from crashing into windows.

By Susan Cosier
Published: May-June 2012

Ninety-six pieces of 13-by-19-inch transparent film lined windows at Philadelphia's Temple University this past spring, each donning an artful illustration designed to make the glass more visible to birds. One piece of film featured origami cranes; another showed birds perched on a musical staff, arranged to signify notes in a composition called "The Cardinal." In crafting their work, the creators--students at Temple's Tyler School of Art--followed strict guidelines on how to prevent bird strikes with windows. "From the sublime to the whimsical, it was all very inventive," says Alice Drueding, Tyler's graphic and interactive design head. 

One hundred million to a billion birds die annually from crashing into glass, according to the American Bird Conservancy, and more than 1,000 die each year on Temple's campus. "What we want to do is use this as an opportunity to make people aware that this is a potential solution," says Audubon Pennsylvania's outreach coordinator in Philadelphia, Keith Russell, who dreamed up the exhibit and helped judge the best design. Surface Care, a New York-based company, is interested in printing and testing some of the films at Temple, where Russell will monitor their effectiveness. "We want to get the data so that we can say yes, they're not only pretty," Russell says, "but they work."

This piece originally ran in the May-June 2012 issue as "Artful Dodging."


Magazine Category

Author Profile

Susan Cosier

Susan Cosier is former senior editor at Audubon magazine. Follow her on Twitter @susancosier.

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine


Artful Dodging/window film sought

Hello Susan--I recently read your 6/2012 article in Audubon while in my MDs waiting room. I was thrilled to read about Temple's Tyler School of Art and the collaborative work being done with beautiful films being designed thru Surface Care. I am employed through the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities in Toledo, Ohio and we have a day service site in a strip mall (with large front windows) serving about 25 adults with disabilities. Birds too often have flown into our windows much to the dismay of all inside our space. Individuals we serve are very active with birds and birding (i.e. assisting the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and Ottawa Wildlife Refuge to band birds in fall and spring, clean blue bird houses on site and are doing bird counts in collaboration with the Cornell University School of Ornithology! We would love to purchase and/or test the films being developed by Surface Care. Please do pass on a contact for us if you could. With much appreciation for your Artful Dodging article and your work with the Audubon Society--Cordially,
Theresa Athaide-Victor
Adult Options Manager
Connections Community Sites
Lucas Co Board of Developmental Disabilities
3830 Woodley Rd, Suite C
Toledo, OH 43506

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.