Press Room

Senator Cory Booker Tackles a Huge Cause of Bird Deaths

Building collisions kill hundreds of millions of birds each year. Senator Booker introduced a bill to reduce bird deaths caused by federal buildings.

WASHINGTON — “Making buildings safer for birds is the kind of common-sense and necessary legislation Congress should quickly send to the President,” said Sarah Greenberger, Audubon’s VP of Conservation Policy, in response to introduction of Senate Bill 1920.

“Birds need all the help we can offer as they navigate through an increasingly hazardous environment. We know bird-safe building design is an effective and inexpensive solution to a major cause of bird mortality. Senator Booker’s leadership on this issue brings America one step closer to reducing needless bird deaths. Audubon strongly supports this bill and its bipartisan counterpart in the House.”

In May, Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) re-introduced the bipartisan U.S. House bill, H.R. 2542.

Collisions with human-made structures is a leading cause of avian mortality in the United States. An estimated 300 million to 1 billion birds die each year from building collisions. Incorporating bird-friendly design has been shown to reduce collision deaths by up to 90 percent. The Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act would establish guidelines for all future construction and alteration projects on federal buildings and hopes to inspire non-federal buildings following suit.

A key guideline would reduce the presence of plain glass to a maximum of 10 percent of the first 40 feet of a building’s façade, and a maximum of 40 percent above the 40-foot threshold. Using patterned glass instead of plain glass allows birds to see glass surfaces and avoid collision. Smarter lighting practices that reduce light pollution and save energy are also included in the legislation’s guidelines. Many birds migrate at night and can be disoriented by lighting, and best practices include using automatic lights that turn off while not in use and shielded lights, which protect birds flying overhead.

The National Audubon Society works with state governments to guide the implementation of bird-safe building code. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his state’s participation in the Lights Out Initiative, an effort spearheaded by Audubon New York to turn off unessential outdoor lighting during peak bird migration seasons. In the Twin Cities, Project BirdSafe is a joint effort between Audubon Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to reduce the number of birds killed or injured by building collisions.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

###

Contact: Nicolas Gonzalez, ngonzalez@audubon.org, (212) 979-3068.

“The views expressed in user comments do not reflect the views of Audubon. Audubon does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.”