A proposed DC bill would require new construction to use “bird-safe” materials.
Every year, up to 1 billion birds are killed when they collide with windows, according to the American Bird Conservancy.
Now a group of DC Council members have noticed the problem and are offering a solution. Council members Mary Cheh, Janeese Lewis George, Brooke Pinto, Charles Allen and Anita Bonds introduced a bill that would require new construction to use “bird-safe” materials, such as the kind of glass treated with a coating or pattern to prevent bird attack.
Anne Lewis, president of DC’s City Wildlife, explains that when birds see untreated glass, they see a path through a building, not an obstacle.
If the bill is passed, she told the WTOP: “We are convinced that this can practically solve the problem.”
For example, she pointed out that the Washington Convention Center retrofitted its windows to be more bird-friendly.
“And it actually reduced the bird killings there by 85%,” Lewis said.
Volunteers with an effort to prevent bird collisions, Lights Out DC, have been collecting data since 2010, Lewis said.
Volunteers walk an area from Union Station to the Convention Center. “It’s about a 13-block linear area with a few blocks on each side,” she said.
In 2012, volunteers found 200 birds in the area during the migration season. But with increased construction in the District, the problem has gotten worse.
“Last year and the year before, we found – every year – 700 birds.”
The loss of a large number of migratory birds is not just a regional problem, and it is not just a result of window collisions, Lewis said.
Habitat loss, climate change and invasive species also contribute to the declining bird population.
“We’re part of a much bigger problem here,” Lewis said.
So if the DC legislation proposed by Cheh and her colleagues is passed, Lewis expects it will help dramatically.
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