Wellington Cable Car gets makeover after more than 100 native birds die flying into glass terminal

'Fowl play' in the capital is forcing Wellington's 120-year-old iconic cable car to get a makeover.

More than 100 native birds have died after flying into the attraction's glass terminal.

"It's heartbreaking to come here and find dead birds," says Cable Car chief executive Cesar Piotto.

The upper terminal building is proving to be the fatal hazard as it's in the middle of the main flight path for Wellington birds.

"It's right between the botanic gardens and Zealandia and all the native birds are flying between these two points here and they're running into a glass building which the birds don't see," says Urban Wildlife Trust's Tony Stoddard.

At least 100 native birds have succumbed to the invisible killer in the last three years - kererū are the worst-affected.

"When we bring the birds back into Wellington it's very different to how it used to look when they used to live here, so changing how we live with the birds is really important," says Gini Letham from Zealandia.

To do that, $30,000 has been raised to bird-proof the terminal windows with Canadian decal technology.

"When you look at it from the inside to out it makes no difference. But when the birds are flying towards the glass they see it as a solid surface and they don't fly through," Piotto says.

It could save thousands of dollars in rehabilitating injured birds and help keep our native species alive.

"Even though they're just a little dot they mean such a big thing for these birds because it means they'll get to live another day," Stoddard says.

Parts of the United States and Canada require new buildings to meet bird-friendly design standards.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says: "New Zealand does not have bird-safe building legislation. New Zealand's building laws and regulations focus on the safety of people, rather than wildlife."

There's hope commercial building owners will adopt the technology.

"It's such an easy fix and will save so many lives. It's such a no-brainer to me," Letham says.