House passes the Bird-safe Buildings Act

Images courtesy Bendheim
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a legislation to reduce bird collisions in the country.
Photo courtesy Bendheim

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R 2, which includes H.R. 919, Bird-safe Buildings Act. This 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 one billion birds die annually by colliding with buildings in the United States.

“In a time when wildlife faces unprecedented, human-driven challenges, we have an obligation to be responsible members of our environment and do what we can to mitigate our impacts on those we share this planet with,” said Congressman Mike Quigley, who has been the driving force behind this bipartisan legislation for more than a decade. “That can start with protecting wildlife from deadly collisions with our buildings.”

The Bird-safe Buildings Act will soon be introduced in the Senate, and conservationists are optimistic about its passage.

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 for 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 Christine Sheppard, director of American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC’s) Glass Collisions Program.

“In 2008, ABC founded what is still the only national-level program dedicated to reducing the billion bird deaths that occur annually from collisions with glass in the U.S.,” said Sheppard. “Since then, more than 20 states, counties, and municipalities have passed bird-friendly legislation. However, the H.R. 919 is a game-changer. The recognition of this issue at the federal level is a momentous achievement because if passed by the Senate and put into law, it will set an example for the entire U.S.”

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