UBC has developed “Bird Friendly Design Guidelines for Buildings” to raise awareness about the dangers buildings pose to birds and inspire the incorporation of bird friendly design strategies in campus development.

Bird Friendly Design

Each year, about 10,000 birds die at UBC by colliding with clear and reflective glass. Windows reflect mirror images of trees and other vegetation and create a particular hazard for birds. 

Birds are important because they provide ecosystem services in the form of pest control, pollination and seed dispersal. In addition, the high visibility and audibility of birds creates a valuable experiential link between people and local wildlife in urban settings. 

UBC has developed Bird Friendly Design Guidelines for Buildings as part of the emerging Green Building Plan. UBC is working with partners on and off campus through the SEEDS Sustainability Program to research bird collisions on campus. The results of these studies can be found by searching for “bird” on the SEEDS Sustainability Library.

Designing a structure to be bird friendly does not need to add to construction costs, nor does it need to restrict the imagination. Innovative thinking is encouraged when it comes to the application of the guidelines.

Bird friendly window art

UBC PhD student Lora Zosia Moon designed a window application as part of a competition through the SEEDS Sustainability Program. The aim of the project was to prevent collisions and bring attention to bird biodiversity on campus. The bird friendly artwork is installed on the windows outside the Loop Café in the CIRS Building (2260 West Mall). Read a story about the project.

Bird rescue

What to do if you find an injured bird

  1. Find a cardboard box or an opaque, un-waxed paper bag.
  2. If you are using a cardboard box, poke small air holes so the bird can breathe. Use clean tissues or paper towels, rolled into a donut shape, as a perch for the bird to sit upright.
  3. Gently place the bird inside the box or bag and close it. Do not feed the bird or give it water. Handle the bird as little as possible as this will minimize stress and allow them to recuperate.
  4. Keep the box in a quiet, dark, and warm place for at least an hour.
  5. After one hour, you may hear fluttering inside the box or bag. Take the bird to a park or forest far away from windows and buildings.
  6. Slowly open the bag or box and let the bird fly out. Hooray! You have just saved a life! Don’t forget to wash your hands after handling wildlife.
  7. If the bird remains unresponsive after an hour. Contact Building Operations at 604-822-2173 or servicecentre.buildingops@ubc.ca.

For more information on rescuing injured birds, see BirdSafe or the BC Wildlife Rescue Association.


Bird friendly resources

FLAP Canada

  • Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) has information on bird and building collision reduction strategies. flap.org


  • Take a Birdsafe self-assessment for your home or commercial building. Birdsafe.ca