Maryland Legislature Considers Bird-Friendly Building Design

Bills Would Make New State Buildings Safer for Birds

Contact: Jennifer Howard, Director of Public Relations, 202-888-7472

(Washington, D.C., Feb. 14, 2018) Maryland legislators are poised to make all new state buildings in Maryland safer for birds. This week, a bipartisan group of sponsors introduced bills in the Maryland House (HB 986) and Senate (SB 1009) calling for new state buildings to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features.

Wood Thrush, a frequent victim of glass collisions, would benefit from bills that aim to make new Maryland State buildings bird-friendly. Photo by Ryan Sanderson

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) thanks Senators Guy Guzzone and Joan Carter Conway and Delegates Clarence Lam, Alfred Carr, and Dan Morhaim for encouraging Maryland 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.

“Maryland's birds are one of the state's great ecological and economic resources,” Lam said. “Making state buildings bird-friendly is a sensible way to help protect them.”

The Maryland House and Senate are expected to hold hearings on the legislation on Feb. 20 and March 6 respectively. Safe Skies Maryland has created an action alert for Maryland residents who wish to contact their representatives and urge them to support the bill.

“While this legislation is limited to state 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. “This is also consistent with LEED standards to reduce bird collisions and increase energy efficiency.”

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 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.

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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.

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