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Bird Friendly Design - Reducing Bird Mortality

Presented By Dr. Christine Sheppard

Broadcast Date: Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Abstract: Birds are potent cultural symbols. They play fundamental roles in ecosystems and habitat regeneration and are important natural controls for insects. Hundreds of millions are killed yearly by colliding with glass in the US alone. Birds cannot see glass, striking it as they fly towards reflections of clouds, sky and vegetation or as they approach real habitat seen through glass. Birds collide with glass on structures of every size, from shacks to skyscrapers, in urban, suburban and rural area. Advances in technology are increasing use of glass curtain walls and other large glass features, increasing the rate of mortality.

Until recently, this problem has been almost unrecognized as an issue of sustainability. However, the Green Building Council has responded by adding a Pilot Credit, Reducing Bird Mortality, to the LEED rating system. Toronto, San Francisco, Oakland and the state of Minnesota now mandate bird-friendly construction in some cases and more legislation and voluntary guidelines are pending. Moving into the future it will be increasingly necessary to design structures with impact on birds in mind.

By participating, you will be able to:

  1. Recognize hazards to birds in the built environment
  2. Identify and apply current best practices in reducing bird collisions for new design
  3. Integrate bird-friendly architecture with other aspects of green design
  4. Understand existing and potential legislation mandating bird-friendly design
  5. Use LEED Pilot Credit #55: Reducing Bird Collisions
  6. Find and utilize resources on bird-friendly construction, including research reports, case studies, materials and guidelines.

Christine Sheppard earned her B.A. and Ph.D. at Cornell. Her first job was at the Bronx Zoo, where she started as intern, and ended as Curator of Birds. Zoos deal with of their buildings causing mortality of wild birds and glass exhibit walls, windows and handrails bring bird collision problems inside. In 2007, Dr. Sheppard joined the board of the Bird-safe Glass Foundation as science advisor. She has conducted basic research into the effectiveness of different patterns in preventing bird collisions. In 2009, she moved to the American Bird Conservancy . She led the team that developed USGBC LEED Pilot Credit 55: Reducing Bird Mortality.