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The Glass Wall at Bolsa Chica
 
photo by Karen Gilbert
Background Information on the wall:

In August 2007, a 6 foot high glass wall was installed by the developer of the Brightwater housing project on the Bolsa Chica Mesa, to act as a barrier between the development and the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach. Access to the wall was not open to public and no one discovered this bird flight hazard until last week when the entrance to the public trail along the outside of the wall became open to the public. The glass panels on the wall are clear and it's difficult to realize that a glass barrier does exist there unless you touch it. Birds have less experience with glass than people and don't realize a barrier exists until too late, when they try to fly through it. Few survive the impact.

A trail, which is open to the public, runs along the outside of the wall, providing good views of the reserve and bird life on the mesa. The easiest access to the public trail along the wall is at the very end of Bolsa Chica Street. There is some parking near the dead end, or, you can park and walk down from the stop sign at Bolsa Chica Street and Los Patos. The trailhead is at the dead end, just follow it out and you'll see the wall.

Excellent source of information on glass walls & their effect on birds:
Karen McQuade, one of our Sea & Sage members, wrote an outstanding article on her blog about the wall and did a lot of research on bird collisions with glass. Those of you interested in the problem of glass walls and their effect on birds will find her article entitled The Birds of Bolsa Chica Versus Brightwater's Wall of Glass well researched and interesting reading. Thanks for sharing this with us, Karen.

Newspaper Coverage:
An article about the wall entitled, "Glass Wall Kills Refuge Birds," written by Annie Burris, was in the Nov. 19th edition of the Orange County Register. Here is a link to her article: http://www.ocregister.com/news/birds-wall-dead-1925737-boardman-three
 
Annie wrote a second article about the wall entitled, "Chain-link Fence May Save Birds From Death" which appeared in the Nov. 26th edition of the Orange County Register. Here is a link to that article: http://www.ocregister.com/news/wall-birds-glass-1929663-hearthside-bird

Tony Barboza wrote an article about the wall entitled, "Glass Wall Has Birders Seeing Red" which appeared in the Nov. 27th edition of the Los Angeles Times, California Section.  Here is a link to that article: http://tinyurl.com/284or4

Your help is needed! Volunteers are needed to monitor the glass wall on a daily basis to check for injured or dead birds. The only way we are going to get that glass wall changed is to keep tabs on the amount of damage it is doing to the birds and to make public our thoughts on the subject. Debbie McGuire, Wildlife Director of the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, will be helping by documenting all the dead birds and caring for the injured ones at her facility. Vicki Anderson of the Songbird Care & Education Center will also be helping document and care for birds injured by the wall.

It is very important that we document those dead birds with photos. Each photo must show the glass wall as well as the bird. Please send me a copy of each documentation photo that you take.
— Nancy Kenyon,

Many of the birds found dead along the wall are on the inside part not accessible to the public. Do not even attempt to get on the other side of the wall! That land is not open to the public.

It is illegal to pick up and transport dead birds without a special permit to do so. So, if you find a dead bird by the wall, you'll have to let it be. You can, however, take a photo of it as documentation.

Injured birds, on the other hand, may be rescued if they are on the public side of the wall. If you find an injured bird, call Vickie Anderson at (714) 964-0666 or (714) 222-6817. She will tell you where to take the bird. If you are unable to make contact with Vicki, then deliver it directly to the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center. They will care for it there until Vicki can pick it up. If you find an injured raptor, contact Scott Thomas at (714) 293-2915.

Most of the birds you find, will be on the inside of the wall next to the development. This is not an area open to public. Try not to handle the bird, but if you do, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards just to be safe. Please remember that it is illegal to keep wild birds, dead or alive, in your possession unless you have a special permit to do so.


Please let me know if you would like to help monitor the wall by walking the length of it. I will set up a schedule for the wall monitors and post it here on this webpage. (One person has already volunteered to walk the path along the wall on Tuesday afternoons.) The schedule will help insure that we don't have 2 people monitoring at the same time and no one at another time. It would be helpful to have monitors cover the area twice a day.
— Nancy Kenyon,

Here is the contact information for Debbie McGuire:
Debbie McGuire, Wildlife Director
Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center
21900 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92642
(714) 374-5587



 

 

 

 

 

 


Sea & Sage Audubon Society
PO Box 5447 • Irvine, CA 92616 • 949-261-7963

http://www.seaandsageaudubon.org