Crash Landing on You

Vitamindz Education

SUITABILITY LEVEL: P4

RELATED SCIENCE TOPICS:

  1. : Light
  2. Adaptation

Migratory birds flying at night use light from the stars to help guide them in their long journey from their temperate winter-cold habitat to the warmer tropical regions near the equator like Singapore.

Image Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/07/how-many-birds-killed-by-skyscrapers-american-cities-report

However upon reaching urban areas such as towns and cities where light pollution is a serious concern, these birds can get confused and disoriented by light sources from buildings and often too frequent end up colliding into them. Records show that between 1998 and 2016, 237 migratory birds have already crashed into buildings of which 157 have died.

To address this problem, NParks (formerly known as National Parks Board) have recommended useful guidelines to minimise incidents of fatal crash landings. Some of these guidelines include…

  • Adding sunshades to hide glass surfaces from the birds’ view and also to minimise reflections as glass surfaces can act like mirrors to reflect the sky and surrounding greenery creating illusions of continuous natural environment that cause birds to fly into them.
  • Using frosted glass films and applying decals to windows to help make these glass surfaces more visible to the otherwise transparent glass.
  • Use blinds and hanging art works to minimise reflection caused by glass as these objects decrease the transparency of glass and make buildings more visible to birds.

SCIENCE CONCEPT

Decals and stickers pasted on transparent glass walls will reflect light to the bird’s eye. When birds notice these stickers, they will be more unlikely to fly towards them as compared to a transparent glass which they are more likely to fly through. This is because a transparent glass allows most light to pass through leaving less light being reflected to the bird’s eye, causing the bird not to be able to notice the glass wall or window.

Using decals and stickers or treated glass surfaces can enhance the visibility of glass to birds or reduce light transmission.
Image Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/nparks-aims-to-reduce-bird-building-collisions-with-new-guidelines

Article Source: Tan, Audrey. (2022, April 11). Guildlines aim to reduce collisions between birds and buildings. The Straits Times.

Another link related to birds crashing into buildings: https://mothership.sg/2022/10/oriental-dwarf-kingfisher-crash/

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