LEED building at Duke University may be retrofitted to prevent bird deaths

An estimated 85 birds were killed in nine weeks.

June 24, 2015 |
LEED building at Duke University may be retrofitted to prevent bird deaths

Photo: Ildar Sagdejev via Wikimedia Commons

Large windows at the LEED-certified Fitzpatrick Center at Duke University have been blamed for killing 85 birds in nine weeks. This is more than any other building on campus.

More birds die from colliding with buildings at Duke than on any other campus in a 45-school survey conducted by Augustana College. Duke is located along the Atlantic Flyway, a bird migration route. 

A representative for Duke’s Bird Window Collision Project says that LEED and other green building programs encourage designs that invite natural light to reduce energy use.

The large windows that enable natural light are a bird hazard. Some one billion birds die each year when they collide with windows, the American Bird Conservancy has estimated.

The Bird Window Collision Project is discussing with the university about ways to retrofit the glass windows on the Fitzpatrick Center. Options include covering the glass with UV-reflective films, which birds can see, or etching a pattern into the glass.

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