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Wellington Cable Car Bird Strike
Prevention Project Stage One

Project brief

Wellington Cable Car is a high-profile attraction in the Capital City of New Zealand. Not only is the cable car used daily by local Wellingtonians, but it is also a significant visitor attraction. The Cable Car summit terminal building is located between two significant bird habitats – Wellington Botanic Garden to the north and Zealandia Ecosanctuary to the south. The stunning glass terminal building is unfortunately right in the flight path of birds and the Cable Car team report regular bird deaths including kererū, kakariki, korimako, ruru, as well as other bird species.

Project benefits and conservation outcomes

Birds dying and getting injured by flying into windows happens regularly in New Zealand, both in homes and commercial buildings. These are distressing experiences for all, and yet window strike seems to be accepted as unavoidable. We want to demonstrate that action can be taken to prevent bird deaths through an innovative initiative with the Wellington Cable Car. Windows are essentially invisible to birds, and collisions occur as birds try to fly through reflections of open space and plants. Worldwide the annual number of birds killed by collisions is estimated to be in the billions. Urban Wildlife Trust and Wellington Cable Car would like to make a difference to this animal welfare and conservation issue and to be the first building in New Zealand to officially install window markers designed to prevent window strike.

Experiments for effective window strike prevention have shown that exterior window applications, such as densely applied stripes or dots, are required. There are no local products available but Feather Friendly® Window Markers are proven effective overseas and they have reached out to partner with us on this project.

In addition to the conservation benefits of reducing injury and death of birds, installation of Window Markers would also help reduce the distress caused to staff, visitors and commuters witnessing any bird window strike at the Cable Car building. It will also empower New Zealanders to take their own action to mitigate window strike and protect precious native birds from this avoidable human-created harm.

Design solution

Feather Friendly® started over 15 years ago by developing bird collision technology and by assisting the Canadian Fatal Light Awareness Programme (FLAP), and the City of Toronto.

Feather Friendly® has led the way in protecting birds from window strike fatalities, through their Bird Deterrent Technology, designed to protect birds while enhancing the building’s design. Feather Friendly® boasts a number of projects that were installed more than a decade ago and still outperform after exposure to window cleaning and harsh weather in Toronto – the first city in the world to create Safe Building Bylaws in bird conservation, which Feather Friendly® helped establish.

As part of its ongoing education program, Feather Friendly® has sponsored free unlimited access to the Canadian Standards Associations (CSA) Bird-Friendly Building Design Standard. This standard was developed through collaboration with many groups concerned with bird safety including ornithologists, architects, conservation authorities, glass manufacturers and industry advocates. As a result of this collaboration, bird-friendly building standards are now applied across many of the major cities in the USA and Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, Oakland, California, Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City.

Feather Friendly® proprietary product is fabricated using a combination of high-quality materials, including 3M™.
The Commercial Feather Friendly® Window Marker product comes in a 36″ x 150′ roll (approx. 450 sq ft) of ¼” markers.

Media Releases

New Zealand native and endemic bird species susceptible to window strike in the Summit Terminal Building location

1. Kererū | Status: Endemic
2. Kākā | Status: Endemic
3. NZ Falcon/Kārearea | Status: Endemic
4. Red-crowned kākāriki | Status: Endemic
5. Bellbird/Korimako | Status: Endemic
6. Tūī | Status: Endemic
7. Sacred kingfisher | Status: Native
8. Shining cuckoo | Status: Native
9. Grey Warbler | Status: Endemic
10. Silvereye | Status: Native
11. Morepork/ruru | Status: Native

Other birds:

Blackbird, Song Thrush, Starling, Yellowhammer, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Ducks, Welcome Swallow, Eastern Rosella, California Quail

Installation of the window markers

A phased approach is recommended for the Wellington Cable Car building, focussing first on the upper window panels on the north and south facing walls and the east/west end window panels. These are assessed as the highest risk windows for bird strike. Installation must occur during warmer conditions for effective adhesion, so the recommended installation time is Spring. This will also coincide with the annual maintenance of the building which will maximise installation cost efficiencies.

Letters of support for the Wellington Cable Car Bird Strike Prevention Project

Urban Wildlife Trust would like to thank the above for their endorsement and support for this important project to protect our native birds in an urban environment

This project has the full endorsement with support from the following