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We’ve all heard that “out of nowhere” whack on home or office windows and later found the carcass of some poor bird lying below it. It’s easy to imagine that this scenario gets played out thousands of times a day around the world. But, until I ran across this story at Treehugger, I had no idea how big of a problem this is. According to German glassmaker Arnold Glas (Arnold Glaswerke), these bird-on-window collisions happen about 250,000 times a day in Europe, alone.

Arnold Glas’s solution is to treat glass panels with a special UV reflective coating visible to birds (which apparently can see a broader UV spectrum than humans) but is otherwise invisible to the public. The coating creates a web-like pattern of lines for the birds that look, at least to me, like a form of netting. The company calls this line of glass products Ornilux.

UV coating creates web-netting pattern visible to birds.

The company claims that it had researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology to test and compare Ornilux glass to alternatives, such as colored adhesive stripes and bird-silhouettes. The company’s websites says that,

“During these experiments various glass types were tested on over 850 birds from 19 different species. After capture, the wild birds were given time to recover and were then released in a flight tunnel. The birds could then fly towards one of two glass panels mounted at the end of the tunnel which were separated by a net. Of the two glass panels, one panel was made of common insulated glass as a control object and the other panel was used for testing the effectiveness of various glass types. The experimental results for Ornilux glass clearly showed that 76 % of the birds tested (representing 82 from 108 test flights) avoided the newly developed Ornilux panel and flew towards the conventional glass panel.”

As it turns out, Ornilux isn’t exactly a new line of glass, but perhaps described as newly recognized. Arnold Glas says it first used the glass in 2006 in a modernization of century-old swimming pool in the city of Plauen, in the German State of Saxony.

But, some recent publicity has stirred new interest in the Ornilux. This summer, a particular product in the line, Ornilux Mikado, received a prestigious Red Dot design award from Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany, a center that has been lauding international product designs and design agencies for nearly six decades.