Bird-Protection Glass to stop birds flying into windows


August 22, 2010

How humans see the Bird-Protection Glass (left) and how birds see it (right)

How humans see the Bird-Protection Glass (left) and how birds see it (right)

Someone has apparently crunched the numbers and estimated that more than 100 million birds are killed every year due to collisions with glass surfaces – not to mention the untold numbers of beverages spilt by surprised people as a bird slams into a nearby window. Birds see the tree or sky reflected in a window or the environment behind the glazing, but not the glass itself. German company Glaswerke Arnold (or Arnold Glass) has come up with a simple way to prevent these collisions by producing a glass that appears normal to humans but is visible to birds.

Working on the principle that birds possess the ability to see light in the ultraviolet spectrum, the company’s Ornilux Bird-Protection Glass borrows a trick from orb-web spiders that protect their laboriously woven webs from birds flying through them with a special UV-reflecting silk. Recognizing this, the company developed the glass with a patterned UV reflective coating that makes it visible to birds while maintaining transparency to the human eye.

The glass was first introduced in 2006 but the company has released an aesthetically improved version with a crisscross pattern. Developed in collaboration with the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, this latest version is called Ornilux Mikado because, when looked at against a backlight, the coating looks like a randomly unfolding layer of the game Mikado pick-up sticks.

Testing at the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology at the Ornithological Station in Radolfzell, Germany resulted in a bird strike reduction of up to 75 percent in comparison to standard double glazing. Not sure if any animals were harmed in the testing procedure but if so, they obviously gave their noggins for a good cause.

Glaswerke Arnold’s Ornilux Mikado Bird-Protection Glass picked up the red dot award for product design 2010.

Via treehugger

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

But will companies pay for this?


For their next project, develop a coating for glass that\'s repellent to insects so they can find their way out the open half of a half open window instead of being attracted more to the inside face of the glass than the open air.

The coating should be able to be applied to any glass so that the millions of existing cars and homes can have the inside of their windows coated.

Facebook User

Congratulations to the crew that invented this. A case of technology really making a difference d;-)


Excellent idea. I wonder if they create a coating that can be applied to existing windows?

Edgar Walkowsky

I love that these glass panels protect birds, so that they don\'t fly into them. I also think it is cool how it looks clear to us, but the birds can see them. Before I switched my glass panels to these, I did a lot of research through McGraw Hill\'s Sweet Directory of construction materials and manufacturers. They have a lot of useful information, including some amazing CAD details that are available to download from their site. While I work for them, I use because they are honestly the best resource I have found. They are really work taking a look.

Laura Beth
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