Proposed Legislation Would Prevent Millions of Bird Deaths


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(Washington, D.C., April 18, 2011) American Bird Conservancy, (ABC) the nation’s leading bird conservation organization, today applauded legislation introduced by Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) that will prevent the deaths of millions of birds that collide with windows at thousands of federal buildings across the country.


The bill, the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act of 2011 (HR 1643) calls for each public building constructed, acquired, or altered by the General Services Administration (GSA) to incorporate, to the maximum extent possible, bird-safe building materials and design features. The legislation would require GSA to take similar actions on existing buildings, where practicable.  Importantly, the bill has been deemed cost-neutral by the Congressional Budget Office. 


“It is fitting that this legislation was introduced on the cusp of Migratory Bird Day. Once enacted, it will save the lives of millions of birds that collide with glass on buildings,” said Dr. Christine Sheppard, ABC Bird Collisions Campaign Manager.


“The way we live our lives cannot be detrimental to other species and this bill recognizes the importance of that mission,” said Quigley.  “This bill will not only save millions of birds’ lives, but it is also completely cost-neutral.  I’m proud to continue what we started in Cook County and work with the American Bird Conservancy to do all we can to make sure birds continue to be a part of our world.”


“Building collisions are arguably the single greatest man-made killer of birds.  From three hundred million to one billion birds or more die each year from collisions with glass on buildings—from skyscrapers to homes.  While this legislation is limited to federal buildings, it’s a very good start that could lead to more widespread applications of bird-friendly designs elsewhere,” Sheppard added.


The legislation proposed by Congressman Quigley is very similar to legislation he sponsored in 2008 when he was Cook County Commissioner. That legislation was approved unanimously by the Cook County Board of Commissioners and has been the basis of subsequent bird-safe ordinances across the country.


Americans spend about $36 billion in pursuit of birding activities.  These activities generate about $4.4 billion in federal tax revenues and about $6.2 billion in state tax revenues, support about 670,000 jobs, and provide $28 billion in employment income.

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