Fortifying Zion’s Bird-Friendly Home Base

Funding Needed: $37,000

“Can you hear the sound of the river? Perhaps the birds? The Canyon Wren with its declining song? This is what I call the Zion Embrace.”


Watching birds navigate their natural habitat is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to interact with wildlife. More than 300 different species of birds soar through Zion including the magnificent California condor, the once-endangered peregrine falcon, and our nation’s emblem, the bald eagle. Zion is a place of protection and sanctuary for these species and is recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA); a designation for sites critical for bird survival.

A modern threat to global bird populations is posed by an unexpected source: nearly one billion birds, approximately one in every twenty, die from collisions with glass windows each year. Awareness of this critical threat has heightened over the last 30 years, with private-sector architects, public officials, and park Rangers taking the lead in proposing solutions. While in flight, birds are confused by modern structures and don’t perceive a glass barrier reflecting trees and sky. The National Park Service is providing leadership by incorporating bird-friendly designs for new construction within park boundaries, while remaining concerned over needed remodels to existing structures.

The Zion Canyon Visitors Center, co-designed in 2000 by the National Park Service and the National Renewable Energy Lab, is an award-winning structure recognized for its commitment to sustainable design. In 2020, Zion’s leadership team hopes to continue the tradition of innovation and conservation by retrofitting the Visitor Center’s windows with treatments to alert birds of a physical barrier, preventing upwards of 90% of collisions. This project also provides the resources to evaluate and mitigate dangers to birds from all window structures throughout the park and the capacity to work with partners to develop a bird-friendly forever plan. Through the addition of interpretive signage at the park Visitors Center, and other public-facing buildings, this project will showcase the stewardship action millions of Zion’s guests can apply in their own homes and communities.