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July 13, 2011

San Francisco Considers Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings

Scientists estimate that hundreds of millions of birds are killed in collisions with buildings and other structures each year. To counter this threat, the San Francisco Planning Commission is considering Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings that would benefit migratory and local birds in the city.

Building strikes are believed to be the leading cause of death of wild birds, impacting federally protected species and birds of conservation concern. The birds most affected are night-migrating species that migrate from Central and South America to breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada. Many of these birds are suffering population declines due to collisions and other factors.

San Francisco residents: Ask the commission to adopt the bird-safe standards. Email, fax, or call in your comments by 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 14.

“We thank San Francisco for stepping to the forefront on this significant conservation issue,” said Jennifer Fearing, California state director for The HSUS. “As a major urban center in the Pacific Flyway migratory route, millions of migratory birds fly over and through San Francisco twice each year as they travel between breeding and wintering areas. And the city is also home to large populations of non-migrating birds, which are also at risk from collisions. Both migratory and locally breeding birds will benefit from implementing the Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings.” 

The standards rely on the best current science to determine which proposed structures present the most risk to birds. These structures will have to take steps to reduce those risks, such as use designs that break up large expanses of glass. For other planned structures, the proposed standards recommend steps that will educate people about potential harm to birds and empower them to take voluntary bird-friendly actions.    

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