This article is about 3M Feather Friendly Window Markers. Window markers help prevent songbirds from crashing into windows. Each year there are over 1 billion bird deaths in North America.
In an attempt to curb the proliferation of glass windows that are bad for birds, cities such as Toronto have established by-laws with specific restrictions on design. However, those by-laws are not always enforced, nor are they retroactive so older buildings are exempt from bird-friendly requirements. That is bad news for birds, and in the long run, for humans. If I haven’t scared you yet, watch the trailer for The Messenger, a documentary about the plummeting songbird population and its causes.
Birds are essential to a well-functioning eco-system and you can read all their services and why bird-friendly glass is so critical to their well-being in this earlier post.
In the meantime, there are ways to make older windows bird-friendly by using bird-friendly window markers. 3M makes a few different styles of markers that are applied like transfers from a sheet to the window. The markers that can be applied to the exterior surface of any glass to prevent bird collisions.
I spoke with Paul Groleau who is a bird-friendly window expert with Convenience Group and consults with building projects all over the world. He told me there are several keys to successful bird-friendly windows:
Birds are attracted by trees, so if trees are reflected in windows, birds will fly towards and into them.
Dot must be visible to the birds
If dots are used to prevent birds from flying into the windows (as with the 3M window film), they must be visible to the bird. White dots are best and must be placed on the window’s exterior surface.
Depending on the bird species in the area, the dots should be placed at specific intervals. For instance, the city of Toronto now requires dots be placed 2 inches apart, which is closer than the previous 4 inches apart. This new spacing is due to the realization that hummingbirds can fit into the larger spaces.
Exterior marker placement
The markers need to be placed on the exterior surface of the window. Yes, it’s more convenient to place the film on the interior side but the birds can’t see the dots that way.
Feather Friendly film should be applied to windows where bird crashes have been found.
Specifically, window markers should be placed on fifth storey windows and below.
Remove interior plants from being next to windows
Where plants are placed on the inside of the building remove the plants from these windows – birds can’t see the window glass in front of the plants and will head straight for them.
Glass balconies are a bird nightmare
While glass balconies are great for humans, they’re terrible for birds – particularly if there are plants placed behind the balcony glass. Yikes! What a bird nightmare! If you live in a condo, contact the condo association and request bird-friendly film be applied to all balconies, from the fifth floor down. If you live in an apartment, ask your landlord to apply the film.
The 3M Feather Friendly markers are guaranteed for 6 years, will last 8 years or longer, are fade-resistant and won’t wash off with window washing or harsh weather conditions.
Window transfer markers are available in commercial or residential DIY versions.