People in glass houses…

‘I want lots of glass, with views, and lots of light…’

This is a common request for the modern architect and something that is often easily achieved, but too often not enough thought is given to the impact this might have on the surroundings. It may look great, but a pile of dead birds beneath it will soon ruin that view.

Deaths of birds striking glass buildings is in the range of 100 million to 1 billion a year in the United States alone and in the UK, the British Trust for Ornithology estimated a few years ago that 100 million bird strikes occurred each year, of which a third are fatal  so it is a problem, and one that many architects are starting to address.

So you can have your glass, your views and also protect the birds, all it takes is a little consideration.

Assess your site, and consider the following:

• If you have an abundance of plant growth in front of your proposed window, this could help reduce reflections and create obstacles that will stop the birds flying into the glass. Consider adding such things to your plan, architectural outdoor plants could add to the effect you are looking for, as well as protecting the local wildlife.

• Consider one way transparent film, permits people on the inside to see out, but makes the window appear opaque on the outside.

Ornilux glass. Showing what we see and what the bird sees.

They can reduce the amount of light that comes in your window (this can also reduce cooling costs).

• Make sure there are no plants located close to the window inside the building, as this will encourage birds to fly towards the glass.

• Use Bird safety glass. Available in an unlimited range of designs, from simple pinstripe to complex designs of your own creation. Ornilux is just one supplier creating bird safety glass that does not detract from your view.

• Apply decals/transfers to the glass to make the barrier visible – these need to be spaced no more than 4 inches apart over the entire surface of the glass. There are companies who will apply this for you and the effect can be as obvious or subtle as you want it to be. Again, the only limit is your imagination.

Fine pinstripes appear almost invisible to us, but are a clear obstacle for a bird.


Dots are another subtle way of making the glass ‘bird safe’


More obvious, complex designs can be added to make more of a statement and also be customised to suit your own ‘grand design’.


There are many ways you can choose to make your new airy space, bird safe, without affecting the aesthetics. However, regardless of your approach, it is always easier to address these things either at the point of manufacture or at least before the glass is fitted, the trick is to think ahead and build it into your plans.

This wonderful, eco friendly, mirrored tree house (one of 6 to be constructed in a tree hotel) was built in Sweden in 2010. An undoubtedly a stunning creation, its development came under fire for its lack of consideration to it’s bird neighbours, both during the day and at night. However each of the units is coated in a bird friendly film and as you can see, it doesn’t detract from the spectacular units at all. If you want to see it for yourself, you can take a look at it here>

The mirrorcube in daylight.

The mirrorcube at night.