U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act recently. The bipartisan bill is designed to reduce bird mortality by calling for federal buildings to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features. As many as a billion birds a year die in collisions with buildings in North America alone.
“By pursuing cost-neutral, responsible, and realistic solutions we can play an important role in preserving the intrinsic, cultural, and ecological value birds bring to our society,” Rep. Quigley said in a statement. “This bill will put an emphasis on constructing buildings with bird-safe materials and design features, which in turn will help eradicate unnecessary bird deaths caused by collisions with glass.”
Many bird-friendly design techniques—such as installing screens or grilles on windows and minimizing the use of glass on lower floors–are already used in some federal buildings to control heat and light or security. The proposed bill would require the General Services Administration to apply similar measures, where practicable, to all new and existing federal buildings.
The legislation would help address one of the greatest human-caused threats to birds, said Dr. Christine Sheppard, Director of ABC’s Glass Collisions Program. “Although this legislation is limited to federal buildings, it’s a very good start that could lead to more widespread applications of bird-friendly designs and use of bird-smart glass solutions,” she said.
A 2014 study found that White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Ovenbird, and Song Sparrow are among the species most commonly killed by collisions with buildings. The study also reported that several species of national conservation concern are especially vulnerable to collisions. Affected species include Wood Thrush, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, and Painted Bunting as well as Common Yellowthroat (shown).
Article by the American Bird Conservancy.