Flight Tunnel at Powdermill Avian Research Center (PARC)
Window Strike Avoidance
Because birds can’t tell reflections from trees, plants, and sky,
millions of our winged friends die every year flying into windows.
Often injured birds fly off to die elsewhere or are scavenged by
neighborhood cats, raccoons, and crows, so that your windows may be causing
more bird injuries and deaths than you realize.
Not all windows are equally dangerous to birds. Factors involved
include a window’s reflective qualities and its position in relation to bird
activity near your home or building. And, of course, collisions are
more frequent during spring and fall migration periods.
Flight Tunnel Project
In partnership with the American Bird Conservancy, PARC is studying bird
behavior in a specially built flight tunnel. Select birds captured in
our bird banding program spend a few extra minutes at PARC helping us to
understand how birds interact with various commercially available window
with all efforts at PARC, the well being of every bird is our top priority
at all times, and no birds are injured in these research efforts. Our
flight tunnel is designed such that each bird is placed through a small
opening in one end of a long tunnel, with the other end apparently open, but
divided between two different window treatments.
As the bird flies toward the perceived exit, the window it is able to see
will be avoided and it will attempt to exit through the other pane.
Before reaching either window, the bird is captured in a safety net and
released by the tunnel operator. The tunnel can be rotated to maintain
lighting consistency, configured to present a perception of open sky or a
tree line scene, and a recording apparatus monitors conditions of ambient
A variety of manufacturers have contributed a large selection of
commercially available window treatments, and each treatment will undergo at
least 90 live trials to gather data on its effectiveness.
Built in 2009, the flight tunnel was first tested in the spring of 2010,
with the first series of trials run in the summer of 2010. It is one
of only two of its kind, with the first built in Austria to assist in
understanding bird strikes against transparent highway barriers.
Quick and Affordable Home Window Treatments
Home owners can take simply and affordable action to help reduce and
prevent bird collisions with windows. From applying duct tape and
Tempera pain to shielding you windows with special netting, there are things
you can do right now to prevent bird strikes.
For some easy to apply and affordable options in preparing your windows
for a more bird friendly home, please download our
Conservancy flyer. (Adobe
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