NYC Commits to Bird-Friendly Building Standards

On December 10, the New York City Council approved a measure that would make the Big Apple and its obstacle course of vertical structures a bit easier for birds to navigate. Proposed Initiative 1482B, introduced by City Council member Rafael Espinal, requires that at least 90 percent of the exterior of the first 75 feet of all new buildings or major renovations be constructed with glazed glass and other materials more visible to birds. 

Each year, according to New York City Audubon, an estimated 90,000 to 230,000 birds die from collisions with NYC buildings, as birds mistake reflections in glass for open sky. Prior to the bill’s passage, Council Speaker Corey Johnson stated, “Unfortunately, our buildings have become a death trap for thousands of birds each year. ... This bill will help protect our feathered friends and reduce the number of bird mortality due to collisions.” 

San Francisco, Oakland, and several other California cities have adopted similar rules. A federal bill aimed at public buildings—the Bird-Safe Buildings Act—has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

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