migratory birds bird safe buildings

Collisions with windows and reflective glass are estimated to kill as many as one billion birds in North America each year, or roughly 5 percent of the wild population.

The New York Times reports that some of the “greenest” buildings in the country are some of the biggest killers. For example, the F.B.I.’s Chicago offices have won a platinum certification under LEED building standards, but takes out about 10 birds a day during the migration season.

In response to this problem, San Francisco officials have passed a new law called Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings to help protect the 400 different species of birds that inhabit their city.

The standards are mainly voluntary, but new buildings, additions and retrofits, buildings near urban bird refuges (defined as open water and green spaces, including vegetation-dense rooftops), as well as structures like freestanding clear glass walls, skywalks, rooftop greenhouses and enclosed balconies do have to comply with some mandatory rules.

On the national level, a bill called the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act was introduced this spring and would require all public buildings constructed, acquired or altered by the General Services Administration to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features.

Image Source: USACEpublicaffairs/Flickr