Bird Friendly Buildings in London
Did you know?
Collisions with building windows are a leading source of bird deaths. Around 25 million birds in Canada and up to 1 billion birds in North America are killed by colliding with windows each year.
In Canada, around 90% of bird-window collisions happen at residential homes. Only a small fraction of collisions take place at tall buildings.
Most bird-window collisions happen during the daytime, but some collisions happen at night, especially where bright lights are left on during bird migration.
Simple, inexpensive solutions for existing buildings and new construction that can reduce the risk of collisions for birds.
Click the buttons below to learn more:
Light Pollution in London
During their migration, some birds may collide with windows at night, especially on tall buildings. Birds use subtle celestial cues in the night sky to navigate during migration, but these cues are interrupted by Artificial Light at Night. As birds fly over London, the glow in the night sky over the city may draw birds in towards light sources. Birds become disoriented and may crash into building windows.
Light pollution in the City of London is significantly more intense than in the surrounding area. Artificial Light at Night in London can be seen from space!
We can see from satellite imagery that although light pollution is diffuse across the entire city, there are areas where light pollution is more intense.
Light pollution in London comes from a variety of sources including buildings and outdoor lighting infrastructure.
Light pollution in 2020 shown in London and surrounding area. Source: Light Pollution Map
Closeup view of light pollution in London in 2020. Bright spots correspond to higher light intensity. Source: Light Pollution Map
Light pollution is harmful not only for migratory birds but also entire ecosystems and for human health. When bright artificial light at night spills into natural areas, it can disrupt everything from insects to fish to trees. Many organisms depend on darkness conditions to fulfill their natural day/night bodily rhythm, to reproduce or to hunt. It is important that properties adjacent to natural areas minimize light spillage from buildings and outdoor light fixtures.
The simplest thing you can do to reduce light pollution in London is to turn off unnecessary light at night.
Installing light timers or occupancy sensors, using only downward-directed light fixtures and transitioning to warmer-coloured light bulbs are additional methods for reducing light pollution. Plus, turning off lights helps to conserve energy and cut costs!
For more information about reducing light pollution, check out these resources:
Bird Friendly Buildings
Bird Friendly Windows
A bird-friendly building is a building that minimizes risks of harm to wild birds by addressing key threats, including:
Using bird-friendly window glass or window treatments to prevent bird collisions. These materials must adhere to the current standard (see next section below)
Using only outdoor light fixtures that are cut off / directed downward and meet Dark Sky criteria.
Covering window wells on the ground floor to prevent wildlife from falling in.
Using only humane pest management techniques (i.e. not using rodenticide poison).
Installing caps to cover openings on all vertical pipes, posts, etc. to prevent animals from becoming trapped (more information).
Landscaping with native plants to provide habitat for birds.
Leaving fallen leaves on the ground to provide overwintering shelter for insects that birds may eat.
Fitting windows that open with screens to prevent wildlife from entering.
Most bird-window collisions occur during daytime, either because the bird mistakes the reflection on the glass for an extension of habitat or open space, or because the bird do not see glass and try to fly through it to reach the other side.
A variety of materials can be used to reduce the risk of bird-window collisions at new and existing buildings. We recommend sticking to solutions that have been endorsed by authorities based on scientific evidence for their effectiveness.
The resources below can help you to find bird-friendly window materials:
Information for Homeowners
In Canada, over 90 percent of bird-window collisions happen at single-family homes. Birds are most likely to collide with windows near green space (bird habitat), and usually collide with windows at or below the height of surrounding trees.
A variety of window retrofit solutions are available for homeowners to reduce the risk of bird-window collisions.
More information about these solutions is available from FLAP Canada.
Feather Friendly DIY Tape (grid of dots) is available to purchase locally in London at:
Featherfields Bird and Garden Store
Wild Birds Unlimited London
Lee Valley Tools
Oil-based markers, paint, tape or stickers can be used to add visual markers to the exterior of a window.