Testing Takes Flight: IGMA Launches Bird Deterrent Glass Research Fund

by Margaret Webb

Up to one billion birds die each year in the United States and Canada when they hit glass windows, walls and other structures, making this threat one of the costliest to bird populations. But it’s also a relatively easy problem to solve. The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has established a passerine bird tunnel test device that is used to screen new products. This tunnel is only active during the spring and fall migration cycles as 80-plus birds are required for each test for statistical validation for a single evaluation of a new or existing product. When results from a tunnel test are positive, ABC endorses the tested product. Product acceptance by ABC is deemed an endorsement and is used by suppliers.


As a follow up to the two bird friendly/deterrent glass presentations
given at IGMA’s conferences, we’ve agreed to cooperate with ABC. We will
now receive and forward contributions to expand ABC’s capacity for rating
glass and conducting research related to rating glass by constructing and operating a second tunnel at a new site. The new tunnel, which would belong to ABC and be part of its glass rating program, would be proofed against the organization’s existing test tunnel at the Powdermill Avian Research Center. This is where training for the new tunnel will also take place. At least 25 percent of new test capacity would be devoted to research related to rating samples and deterring collisions.

All funds raised will be sent to ABC. This is not a revenue generator for IGMA, so there are no administrative charges or back fees.


1. Identify location for new tunnel. Under consideration: Cape May, N.J., Great Black Swamp, Ohio; and Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, Rochester, N.Y. Execute contracts, memorandum of understanding, etc. Include site for tunnel, storage for glass and work space for tech.

2. Create construction documents for new tunnel.

3. Hire tunnel project coordinator.

4. Coordinator meets with ABC.

5. Coordinator trains at Powdermill for four to six weeks and learns tunnel operation, video scoring, data recording, management and analysis.

6. Coordinator at site; identifies contractors and solicits bids; ordering felt, computer, glass for controls, radiometers, camera and miscellaneous items.

7. Tunnel construction.

8. Tunnel set up; run controls.

9. Tunnel runs during migration.

10. Tunnel shut down, data analysis, reports.


IGMA members and industry stakeholders are invited to submit research funding contributions via check directly to IGMA. Contributions will be accepted now through June 30, 2019. These contributions are not tax deductible as a charitable donation, however all contributors will receive confirmation of their contribution from IGMA. In addition ABC will receive a list of contributors and amounts.

IGMA will set up a webpage exclusively established for this fund, and will issue an announcement regarding the launch date. There’s no need to wait for the webpage, though, as IGMA is accepting contributions now.

Margaret Webb is the executive director of the Insulating Glass
Manufacturers Alliance with offices based in Chicago and Ottawa, Ontario.

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