How To Help

Safe Passage can use your help! We maintain an honor roll of buildings that turn off their lights at night for the spring and fall migration seasons. To keep that honor roll current, we would like to make simple visual inspections of these buildings between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. in spring and fall to ensure that those buildings are in compliance. In general, these buildings are found in downtown Detroit, Southfield, Troy, and Mount Clemens. If you live or work in these areas, you could help Safe Passage by checking on a single building and reporting to us whether the lights above the fifth floor of that building are on or off. One visual check in spring and one in autumn would be fine—more would be better.

A second way you could help is to do visual inspections on an entire area like, for instance, downtown Detroit. We would provide the addresses, and you would do one drive-by survey in the spring and one in the fall and report your findings to us. If a building is out of compliance, we will politely remind the manager of their commitment and hopefully that will solve the problem.

A third way to help would be to actually collect and compile information on dead and injured birds that have collided with tall buildings. Collecting would generally occur mornings after foggy and rainy nights, which are particularly deadly for migrating birds. This is already being done in Toronto and Indianapolis. We very much want to initiate such a program in southeast Michigan. Training will be provided. The information gathered will be instrumental in improving the Safe Passage Great Lakes project.

If you think you might be interested, contact our Research Coordinator, Erin Rowan, at 313-960-3399. We’d love to have your assistance, and you would be making a very real contribution to ending the needless slaughter of migrating birds.


Bird Safe Solutions for your Home Windows:

If you’re looking for a simple, effective, and affordable way to prevent birds from hitting your windows, there are now a number of options available. With so many options to choose from, we hope our readers will spread the word and make their homes safer for our avian neighbors.

Acopian BirdSavers

The newest product, Acopian BirdSavers, also known as Zen Wind Curtains, uses nylon parachute cords hung 4 1/4 inches apart outside the glass. Field experiments “provide exceptionally strong quantitative evidence that BirdSavers are an effective means of transforming windows into obstacles that free-flying birds will see and avoid.” To order the custom-designed BirdSavers, measure your windows, and visit www.birdsavers.com. To build your own, follow the instructions on the website.

Feather Friendly

Feather Friendly Technologies has developed a do-it-yourself kit using the same bird-strike solution proven to work on their commercial applications. The film uses a marker-only application to the exterior surface of the glass. The kit is made up of 100-foot rolls of marker tape, two measuring strips, and installation instructions. Visit www.featherfriendly.org for online instructions and pricing.

ABC Bird Tape

Over the past few years the Rusinow Family Foundation, a charitable organization founded by Jeff Rusinow, has been funding bird conservation initiatives. Jeff, a life-long birder and board member of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) feels that the issue of birds hitting residential windows has been neglected by the birding community. With the Rusinow Family Foundation’s generous support, a tape that prevents bird strikes has been developed. The ABC tape comes in 3-inch and 3/4-inch widths. Homeowners can create their own aesthetics as long as the tape is applied 2 inches apart horizontally or 4 inches apart vertically. The wider tape can be used to create squares or diamonds. A roll can cover 15 windows that are 24 x 32 inches. ABC is selling the product at cost. Visit their website at www.abcbirdtape.org . Wild Birds Unlimited stores have also begun carrying it. Jeff feels there’s a need for an inexpensive solution that will get public support. He is eager to distribute the tape through big-box and hardware stores.

This article was derived, with thanks, from two articles published in the fall 2012 issue of Touching Down, the newsletter of the Fatal Light Awareness Program.