Elevate Your Corporate Sustainability Program with a Bird-Safe Window Initiative

A DIY bird-safe window project created by Derek Tan of the Biodiversity Research Centre. Photo: Krista De Groot

More and more businesses and organizations are committing to reducing their environmental footprint in the workplace. Besides a clear environmental benefit, investing in corporate sustainability can increase employee satisfaction and wellbeing, be marketed as a competitive edge, and even improve your bottom line. No matter how big or small your organization (or budget), there are plenty of ways to make a positive impact.

Corporate sustainability initiatives frequently fall into the broad categories of waste reduction or water/energy savings, but often miss another significant category: wildlife protection. Take your corporate sustainability program to the next level with an innovative 2022 project.

Bird-safe windows in the workplace

The buildings in which we live, play and work can pose a lethal obstacle to local and migratory birds. Reflective and transparent glass on buildings mirrors potential habitat or sky, or appears as a clear passage, causing birds to fatally collide with windows. Collisions with windows are a leading cause of death and claim the lives of millions of birds in Canada each year. Luckily, there are simple modifications we can make to our windows to help birds ‘see’ them and avoid a deadly collision.

Why make your windows bird-safe?

In addition to saving birds from an easily preventable cause of injury and death, making your windows bird-safe has numerous other benefits, including:

How to get started on a bird-safe window initiative

Research bird-safe window treatment solutions

No matter how big or small your budget, you can find a solution that fits. If you’re interested in commercial-grade solutions, learn about bird-safe patterns or window films that you can apply to windows. If you’re covering a small area or if budget is a concern, consider a DIY option. There are also often opportunities for finding cost-neutral solutions by selecting products that serve additional purposes, for example as privacy screening, branding, artwork, or energy savings (e.g., customized solar reflective films with bird-safe markers).

Window treatments must meet current guidelines to be effective. Photo: Lisa Horn

However, it’s critical that whatever product you choose meets certain guidelines to ensure you don’t waste your money on an ineffective product. Follow FLAP’s Bird-Safe Window Marker Guidelines or the Canadian Standard Association’s Bird-Friendly Building Design Standard (CSA A460:19).

Get buy-in

Depending on the unique situation at your building and company, you may need to consult with management or your property manager to be able to make any modifications to windows. Having done your research beforehand, you’ll be prepared with a convincing argument about the potential benefits of the project as well as potential solutions.

Expect building management to have questions and concerns about maintenance, impacts to building heating and cooling costs, and warranties. Your best source of information about these types of concerns is often the manufacturer of the bird-safe product you’re investigating. Work together with management to identify and address any concerns and find a solution that works for your building.

Engage your colleagues

Once you’ve received approval and have decided on a window treatment solution, consider involving the rest of your workplace in your bird-safe window initiative. Here are five ideas:

  • If you are going the DIY route, get a group of volunteers together to install the window treatment.
  • Install signage explaining the purpose of the new window treatment.
  • Encourage people to report any bird-window collisions on the Global Bird Collision Mapper.
  • Participate as a team in Global Bird Rescue (October 3-9, 2022)
  • Start a ‘Lights Out’ campaign at your workplace to save energy, money, and birds’ lives (tips and resources here).

Thank you for your commitment to sustainability!

An increasing number of professionals are recognizing that a building is not truly ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ until it is bird-safe. Starting a bird-safe window initiative at your workplace is a visible and meaningful way to make a real difference and engage your workplace, clients, and community.

Have you retrofit the windows at your workplace? We’d love to hear about it! Send us a message at birdsafe@flap.org.