Bird-Safe BuildingsGleaming by day and glittering at night, glazed buildings that make up modern city skylines and suburban settings present serious hazards for birds. Bird populations, already in decline from loss of habitat, are seriously threatened by the relatively recent incursion of man-made structures into avian air space. In the United States, an estimated 100 million to one billion birds perish each year from encounters with buildings.
Bird injury or death is largely attributable to two factors: birds, it would appear, are unable to detect and avoid glass, during either the daytime or night. Moreover, buildings’ artificial night lighting confounds night-migrating species.
Today, preventative actions mindful of these hazards are emerging in building practice. With bird-safe measures at hand, we can avoid the adverse consequences that until recently seemed inevitable though unintended.
The Bird-Safe Building Guidelines (Guidelines) examine the apparent causes of bird mortality in the built environment; convey the ecological, economic, ethical and legal justifications for bird conservation; advocate a series of preventative and rehabilitative strategies, and describe precedents for regulatory initiatives. They strive to stimulate the development of new glazing technologies while creating a market for all bird-safe building systems.
The Guidelines promote measures to protect birdlife in the planning, design, and operation stages of all types of buildings, in all settings. They are intended for use by architects, landscape architects, engineers, glass technicians, environmentalists, building owners and operators, construction industry stakeholders, city planners, civic officials, state and federal agencies, and the general public.
The Guidelines complement and inform today’s green building initiatives, especially the widely utilized LEED® (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design) green building rating system developed
by the US Green Building Council.