Building a new home? Retrofitting an office? Unless you're inspired by caves, the place has got windows. And though they're a coveted commodity, windows can be devastating to birds: around one billion die annually from colliding with glass. "The amount of glass in a building is the strongest predictor of how dangerous it is to birds," according to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC).
The ABC can help you learn to curb the carnage. It just released its "Bird-Friendly Building Design" (available as a pdf here) guidelines, an updated version of recommendations published several years ago by York City Audubon. The document provides a comprehensive set of design remedies, accompanied with clear explanations as to why some work better than others. (Overhangs, for example, have been said to help reduce collisions, but they don't eliminate reflections, and only block glass from eyesight by birds flying above them).
The tips don't just apply to new buildings, either. "New construction can incorporate bird-friendly design strategies from the beginning," states the document, but "there are many ways to reduce mortality from existing buildings, with more solutions being developed all the time." In other words, do what can be done now and update later. Surely, birds will be happy with anything they can get.