Le padel is booming. We will not return here to all the positive aspects of this sport. But to return to a theme already discussed and observed for many years: the negative impact of windows on birds.
Le padel is about of judicial attention in Spain due to high bird mortality caused by the glass walls of the grounds. THE padel is obviously not the only sport targeted by the NGO SEO / Birdlife, but more generally targets transparent windows or reflections from the windows of certain buildings which deceive birds and cause significant mortality. Investigation.
Birds/tracks: a death trap?
The NGO SEO/Birdlife underlines that the grounds of padel, like other glass infrastructure, poses an invisible threat to birds. Despite their excellent vision, birds do not perceive these transparent surfaces as obstacles, thus leading to frequent collisions. These accidents often cause death or serious injury, particularly in young birds and during periods of migration. The species most affected include swallows, blackbirds and warblers, sometimes found dead at the foot of the land. These lands are generally located on the outskirts of towns and villages, areas with high biodiversity.
Complaints are increasing in Spain
Faced with this situation, complaints from animal rights activists have been filed with the Spanish courts. Antonio Vercher, responsible for environmental issues within the Spanish Public Prosecutor's Office, took up this issue based on a recent law on animal welfare. Adopted in March by the Spanish Parliament, this law makes the mistreatment of animals a criminal offense. Vercher urged the competent administrations to take all necessary measures to avoid or limit these collisions.
Among the solutions proposed, the installation of stickers or protective nets on transparent walls to make them visible to birds was suggested. This technique has been successfully tested in the Valencia region, according to SEO/Birdlife.
Millions of bird victims each year
Every year, millions of birds die around the world when they hit windows. This problem is getting worse with the increasing use of glass in modern construction.
In Spain, the statistics are particularly alarming. More than 1.000 animals hit windows, affecting more than 100 different species between 2008 and 2018. In Tarragona, a study found that 193 birds of 17 different species were found dead after hitting the windows of a single building from 2012 to 2015.
Pablo de Olavide University to the rescue
At the Pablo de Olavide University of Seville, the fields of padel, located near areas rich in avifauna, represented a mortal danger for birds. Several species, including the blackbird, barn swallow and kingfisher, were found dead.
In response, a fruitful collaboration was established between SEO/BirdLife, the UPO of Seville, the CEI – Change, and the Vice-rectorate of the Health and Sport Campus. In the spring of 2022, they installed a system of nets on the windows of the playing fields. padel, reducing the number of birds killed by collision to zero, without hindering sports practice.
“Birds and Windows” campaign: awareness and prevention
SEO/BirdLife launched the “Birds and Windows” campaign to raise awareness among society and infrastructure managers. The objective is to measure the extent of the threat and encourage the taking of corrective and preventive measures.
The campaign encourages the public to report bird-window collisions via the SEO/BirdLife “Infrastructure Mortality” app, helping to collect essential data to understand and manage this problem.
Continued engagement from various organizations and the public is crucial to protecting birds from the dangers posed by our built environment. The positive results obtained at the Seville UPO demonstrate that with targeted initiatives and effective collaboration, it is possible to significantly reduce the negative impacts on our avian fauna.
Franck Binisti discovers the padel at the Club des Pyramides in 2009 in the Paris region. Since padel is part of his life. You often see him touring France going to cover the major events of padel French.