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Have a Safe Flight: Bird-Friendly Glass

We are proud to protect our local bird population by using high-quality bird-safe windows. Our new buildings are currently one of the largest of bird-friendly glass installations in Michigan.

Both the Visitor Center and Administration Building will offer panoramic views of Ford Cove and let in plenty of natural light.

However, we acknowledge the unfortunate reality that large expanses of windows are hazardous for birds. Birds don't recognize the transparent glass panes as a solid barrier and often fatally collide with windows while flying.

Window strikes kill up to a billion birds annually in the U.S. alone, according to the American Bird Conservancy.

Protecting our natural environment and our feathered friends is important to us at Ford House. If you spend an hour on the grounds, you're likely to see dozens of different bird species. The estate includes a sanctuary called Bird Island, directly adjacent to the site of our new buildings. We're also located along the documented route flown annually by local migrating birds.

So we decided to fit our new buildings with special bird-friendly windows. The glass is made with a patterned coating that reflects ultraviolet light. It's almost completely invisible to human eyes, but birds will see a pattern that looks like a spider web, so they'll naturally avoid flying into it.

Together with our building designer SmithGroup, we chose window glass from manufacturer Arnold Glas in Germany for its high performance in energy efficiency as well as bird safety.

The bird-friendly coating in the windows is called Ornilux, tested and approved by the American Bird Conservancy. The windows are also insulated and reflect sunlight, saving energy by reducing the building's heating and cooling needs.

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