Some Welcome (but far away) Relief for Birds

The Bird-Safe Buildings Act has been re-introduced in Congress.  It would require that new or substantially modified federal buildings be constructed to make them less of a hazard to migratory birds.  

            Each year between three hundred million and a billion birds die in collisions with buildings.  The idea of the Act is to reduce this by requiring new or substantially modified federal buildings to be designed to reduce this risk.

The bill exempts from these requirements buildings and sites listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the White House and its grounds, the Supreme Court building and its grounds, and the U.S. Capitol and its related buildings and grounds. 

            Much of the bill’s focus would be on the use of glass, which is usually invisible to birds.  The bill would limit the use of glass unless it is a special patterned glass that birds can see.  The bill would also require that outside lighting be appropriately shielded and minimized.  This is important because birds often navigate by light and can become confused by bright lights.

            The bill faces a long road ahead if it is to become law.  It has been introduced in the Senate and assigned to a committee but there have been no hearings or other actions.  A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2019.  It managed to gather forty six co-sponsors but never made substantial progress toward passage.