Glass facades cause an estimated 750 million bird deaths each year, according to estimates by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
At some properties, the problem is so bad that skyscraper owners hire workers to remove dead birds from the base of their buildings. To address the problem, the American Bird Conservancy created two avian research facilities at the Powdermill Nature Reserve near Pittsburgh and another inside a modified shipping container at the Bronx Zoo.
The group partnered with the US Green Building Council to develop a LEED pilot credit for incorporating bird collision deterrence into new buildings. This credit aims to make buildings as visible to birds as possible by incorporating through-glass technologies, exterior building treatments like screens and louvers, and decreased night lighting levels.
That measure has become LEED’s most popular pilot credit. Legislation in San Francisco, Oakland, and other Bay Area cities established citywide bird safe building standards. Mandatory and voluntary ordinances have also been passed in New York, Minnesota, and Toronto.