As fall migration season continues, many of the patients treated at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County are birds who have suffered from window collisions. Window collisions occur when birds are confused by the reflection of sky and greenery on windows, or try to fly through windows not realizing there is a transparent barrier.  For this reason, great care was given to designing and implementing effective measures to prevent bird collisions at the new visitors’ center, currently under construction.

As part of the building design, two distinct bird deterrent strategies were incorporated into the façade. The first involves an intricately designed anodized copper screen, which mimics the veining pattern of leaves. This screen acts as a physical barrier and runs parallel to the windows on the north and west building façades.

The second method entails integrating a ceramic frit onto the window glazing to reduce transparency and reflection. This treatment features a pattern of native Illinois leaves, thoughtfully selected to educate visitors about the trees in the surrounding woods. Beyond its bird strike prevention capabilities, the ceramic frit treatment also provides solar protection to the building and contributes to the District’s broader sustainability goals for this project.

Both bird collision deterrent strategies are featured in the new visitor center exhibit hall and classroom as part of a ‘permanent exhibit’ to help educate visitors on the challenges our buildings pose to wildlife and methods of mitigating those effects. These innovative strategies not only enhance the safety of the avian population but also underscore the District's commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship.