Bird-friendly Design

Thousands of square feet of new glass are added to the built environment every day. Our research shows bird-friendly design can be achieved without sacrificing aesthetics, functionality, or budget.

Bird-friendly Building Design, 2nd Edition Cover 2015

ABC’s Bird-friendly Building Design guide

Bird-friendly Building Design

Our “Bird-friendly Building Design” guide, built on the pioneering work of New York City Audubon, adds a review of the science behind available bird-friendly solutions and provides many visual examples of how those solutions can be applied to new construction and existing buildings.

A few examples of bird-friendly design techniques include frit patterns, frosted glass, and window screens. Interestingly, many award-winning designs unknowingly incorporate bird-friendly design features.

To order the Bird Friendly Building Guide, please call Jenna Chenoweth at (540) 253-5780.

One of our two tunnel testing sites: Powdermill in Pennsylvania.

Rating Bird-friendly Materials

We evaluate glass and other materials in our testing tunnel at the Carnegie Museum’s Powdermill Nature Reserve in Pennsylvania to generate ‘threat factor scores’ so architects and other professionals can design bird-friendly buildings.

In these tunnels, we test glass under carefully controlled conditions, observing and rating how birds react to various materials. The results of these tests can then be used to develop and test new products and learn more about why glass is a problem for birds. So far, we have worked with 20 different manufacturers to test more than 100 materials. Proven effective products can be found on our Bird-Smart Glass page.

Learn more about how we test glass in our tunnels.

San Francisco now has standards for bird-safe buildings

Advocating for Bird-safe Legislation

ABC has helped pass legislation on bird-friendly design in nearly a dozen jurisdictions, providing model legislation, testimony, and support for efforts at federal, state and local levels.

For example, we assisted San Francisco in developing and passing “Standards for Bird-safe Buildings.” This legislation was signed into law in October 2011 and mandates bird-friendly design for facades of buildings in areas where the threat to birds is highest.

The importance of this has been clear, as passage of one ordinance inspires another. We encourage everyone to join these efforts.

41 Cooper Square in NYC, by Morphosis Architects

Encouraging Bird-friendly Design 

ABC led the development of a Green Building Council LEED Pilot Credit for reducing bird collisions, LEED Pilot Credit 55. We’re also working to incorporate bird-friendly design into other sustainability programs.

We are actively advising federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the General Services Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Department of Transportation, on ways to incorporate bird-friendly practices in their operations and policies.