Visitors to the La Crosse District Visitor Center might be wondering about the new grid of little white dots on all the windows! In 2021, the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge – La Crosse District received a $5,000 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Birds division as part of a “bird friendly facilities” challenge. The funding provided the new dot pattern window decals and allowed us to remove old window treatments that were weathered and faded. The decals help birds to be able to see the glass, preventing bird fatalities, while not blocking too much of the view from inside for visitors.
Every year nearly one billion birds collide with glass in the United States and most fatalities happen at buildings shorter than four stories tall. Birds do not see glass well; they see reflections of the sky or plants inside or outside our homes and think they can fly through it. As we continue to see songbird populations decline, decorating our windows is an easy way to make a big difference for birds, and doesn’t have to be expensive!
Decorating with special paints, making a string fringe, or applying tape strips or dot pattern decals makes glass more visible. The key to effective window treatments is spacing the treatments close together. Folks wishing to update glass around their homes or businesses can find recommendations for products and tips to apply them online here: https://www.fws.gov/story/threats-birds-collisions-buildings-glass
Over 290 species of migratory birds travel through or stopover on the refuge each year. The prairie, forest, marsh, and river habitats offer the important food and nesting materials they need to survive. Stay tuned for information about upcoming bird identification walks in May 2022! We are thankful for your help making the refuge a great place for people and wildlife!