Vinyl dots on windows at Chattahoochee Nature Center Adam Betuel

Bird-Friendly Buildings

Making Our Built Environment Safer for Birds
Research indicates that up to 1 billion birds may be killed per year in the U.S. alone due to window collisions. Birds hit buildings at all hours during the day and night. At night migrating birds can be distracted by bright lights in our cities. During the day the problem is reflection or other confusing aspects of glass.
The increased use of glass in our modern buildings, including large expanses of highly-glazed or ultra-clear glass, presents a serious hazard for birds. Most birds don’t perceive glass as an obstacle. Instead they see the things they know and need, such as habitat and open sky, reflected in the glazed surface or on the other side of one or more panes of glass.


Artificial lights and skyglow around buildings can be fatal to migrating birds. Some are casualties of nighttime collisions with windows and walls. Others circle in confusion until dawn, when they land and are subject to other urban threats. This issue impacts hundreds of species, including priority birds like Wood Thrush, Golden-winged Warbler, and Seaside Sparrow. By working with building owners, managers, and residents to turn off unnecessary lights, we can help minimize the impact on birds.

Reflective and Transparent Surfaces

During daylight hours, shiny glass exteriors, internal plants near windows, glass corners, and greenery close to buildings can all be deadly as birds are unable to distinguish reflection from open flyway. Window collisions are one of the leading direct human causes of bird mortality, with a recent study estimating that up to one billion birds are killed annually in the U.S. Birds need strong clues on or around glass to warn them that it’s there.

Explore More

Learn about what Audubon chapters, centers and programs across the country are doing to make buildings safer for birds, both day and night, as we consider the hazards that artificial light at night and glass pose. 

Explore the Lights Out Network

Cities participating in Lights Out. Please check back for updates and notify staff if you see that updates are needed.     

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Turning Off Lights at Night Could Halve Bird Deaths On Chicago’s Lakeshore

An analysis of more than 11,000 birds struck dead by a single building's windows shows turning lights off during migration makes a big difference.
Press Room

Bipartisan Bill in U.S. House Seeks to Reduce Bird Collisions with Federal Buildings

As many as a billion birds die each year in window strikes; federal government can lead in cost-neutral, bird-friendly planning

New York City Passes a Landmark Bill to Make More Buildings Bird-Friendly

By a vote of 43-3, the City Council approved that all new construction must use materials that prevent avian fatalities.

Birds need strong clues on or around glass to warn them that it’s there. Learn more about collision prevention solutions.

Printed perforated vinyl at the Newman Wetlands Center. Adam Betuel

More Reading

Lights Out Is a Turn-on for Birds

Programs across the continent help protect birds from colliding with buildings.

Making Buildings Safe for Birds

Each migration season, millions of birds die in cities by crashing into buildings. Now a growing trend toward sustainable design could open the door to safer passage.

We Finally Know How Bright Lights Affect Birds Flying at Night

A new study, based at New York City's 9/11 tribute, shows that artificial lights lure birds from their migratory routes.
A person walking on the street at night in an urban environment.

Lights Out Across the Country

Audubon helps protect birds during migration, one switched-off light at a time.
Press Room

Building Collisions Kill Hundreds of Millions of Birds per Year

Audubon expert available for interviews about reducing bird deaths in urban areas like Super Bowl LII host city Minneapolis.

By Design: An Architectural Awakening Could Save Billions of Birds

As many as one billion North American birds die each year in after colliding with windows. Innovations can help them steer clear.