Bird-Friendly Glass in Architecture: Saving Millions of Birds

Jan 03, 2023

Published on 03/01/2023 — Nearly one billion birds die each year in North America due to collisions with glass. These collisions are the leading cause of bird mortality; most of which occur during migratory seasons. In order to reduce this statistic, the glass must become visible to the birds. There are many ways to achieve this: with paint, vinyl decals, metal screens, or hanging objects; but none of these solutions are possible without sacrificing the look of the architecture.

“Birds, unlike humans, are unable to understand or learn the concept of ‘glass’ as an invisible barrier that can also be a mirror. Birds take what they see literally – and glass can appear to be habitat they can fly into, whether the habitat is reflected, or seen through a pane of glass.”


– American Bird Conservatory

Many major cities have ordinances in place that require new construction to incorporate bird-safe measures. Many of these ordinances are still voluntary in certain cities, we believe that it is critical to put as much effort as possible into protecting migratory birds.

How SkySafe Bird-Friendly Glass Can Help Prevent Collisions

SkySafe™ Bird-Friendly Glass reduces collisions by making exterior glass visible to birds.

It is proven that patterns applied to the outside of the glass are most effective in deterring birds from flying into the glass. When applied to the exterior, they are seen as obstructions to their flight path. If products are applied to the interior, they can be obscured by reflections in the glass and become much less effective.

Skyline Design offers SkySafe™ Bird-Friendly Glass with Surface One Eco-etch® glass etching–a product that reduces collisions by making exterior glass visible to birds. The pattern is permanently engraved into the surface of the glass.

To deter bird strikes, patterning on glass should be spaced at a minimum of 2” vertically and 4” horizontally. Smaller birds may still fly through a 4” opening, so in some cases a 2” grid is most effective. Skyline Design offers solutions that follow the 2×2 and 2×4 rules for pattern spacing.

bird safe glass for architecture

Lifetime Warranty

Working with a third-party laboratory, Skyline Design carried out custom testing of SkySafe™ Surface One Eco-etch® samples to assess the technique’s resistance to abrasion and environmental exposure. The Eco-etch® glass performed beautifully, with results showing that the etched glass plates were unaffected by abrasive and environmental factors. The etched glass also showed no wear or deterioration after exposure to simulated acid rain, bird droppings, smog chemicals, exhaust fumes, and ambient dirt due to weathering.

Choose from Unlimited Bird-Safe Patterns

Skyline Design provides an unlimited combination of design options to fully customize glass for your exterior project. Each glass panel can be created from a unique piece of artwork and tailored to your specifications for façades, curtain walls, rain-screens, canopies, railings, wayfinding, and bird-friendly glass. You can choose from Skyline Design’s library of proprietary, proven bird-safe patterns or work with Skyline Design to create a custom pattern that meets bird-friendly standards. For the time being, check out our featured bird-safe glass patterns below.

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