U.S. Senate to Consider Issue for the First Time
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2017) The U.S. Senate will have an opportunity to act to make all new federal buildings safer for birds. This week, Sen. Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act (S. 1920) — the first time such a bill has been proposed in the Senate. A version of the legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA).
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) thanks Sen. Booker and Reps. Quigley and Griffith for encouraging the federal government to lead by example in addressing one of the biggest human-caused threats to birds. As many as a billion birds a year are killed in the United States when they collide with glass on all kind of structures, from skyscrapers and office buildings to homes and bus shelters.
Many existing federal buildings already feature bird-friendly design. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill call for the General Services Administration to require new federal buildings to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features.
“While this legislation is limited to federal buildings, it’s a very good start that could lead to more widespread applications of bird-friendly designs elsewhere,” said Christine Sheppard, Director of ABC’s Glass Collisions Program.
“Now is the time to proactively avoid continued impacts to bird populations from building strikes, which only compounds losses from other threats such as habitat loss and climate change,” said Eric Stiles, President and Chief Executive Officer of New Jersey Audubon. “We applaud Cory Booker for introducing the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act.”
Many species of birds fall victim to collisions. The species most commonly reported as building kills in the United States include White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Ovenbird, and Song Sparrow. Several other species of national conservation concern suffer disproportionate casualties, including Painted Bunting, Canada Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Wood Thrush. Learn more about bird collisions and bird-friendly building design here.
(Photo: Wood Thrush by Ryan Sanderson)
American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.