- Duke University will reveal retrofitted windows on its LEED-certified Fitzpatrick Center at the Pratt School of Engineering Thursday to combat the influx of birds flying into the glass.
- The environmentally friendly building's glass is in the process of being screened with a film of colors and patterns — also known as "fritted glass" — to be more visible to birds.
- Researchers have said dozens of birds die every year after flying into the Fitzpatrick Center's glass panes. According to a 45-school survey by Augustana college, more birds die flying into Duke buildings than structures on any other campus. Duke's campus is located along the Atlantic Flyway, a bird migration route.
Campus researchers lauded the new design. "There are so many times when research doesn't result in real-world solutions, but this is," said Nicolette Cagle, a lecturer in Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.
The problem of glass-covered buildings spurring a rise in bird deaths is nothing new. Approximately 1 billion birds die annually from colliding with windows, according to the American Bird Conservancy.
Another high-profile, glass-covered building — the new Vikings football stadium in Minnesota — raised controversy earlier this year for its potential to kill birds colliding into the transparent panes.
Despite efforts by the Audubon Society and other critics to convince the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to install etched glass, officials declined in January, saying the design change would add as much as $60 million to construction costs and take away from the aesthetic of the stadium.