Enacting laws to enforce bird-friendly measures in construction is nothing new. According to Audubon Great Lakes, a regional office of the National Audubon Society, collisions with human-made structures is a leading cause of bird deaths in the U.S. Now, more lawmakers can be listed as having succeeded in their efforts to lessen the number of birds that die of building collisions.
Toward the end of July, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Bird-Safe Buildings Act (HB 247), which requires bird-friendly designs to be incorporated into the construction and renovation of state-owned buildings. The act requires each state building constructed, acquired, or of which more than 50% of the façade is substantially altered shall meet specified standards concerning bird safety.
Some standards listed in the bill say “at least 90% of the exposed façade material from ground level to 40 feet shall not be composed of glass; or shall be composed of glass employing elements that preclude bird collisions without completely obscuring vision, such as secondary facades, netting, screens, shutters and exterior shades; ultraviolet (UV) patterned glass that contains UV-reflective or contrasting patterns that are visible to birds; patterns on glass designed in accordance with a rule that restricts horizontal spaces to less than 2 inches high and vertical spaces to less than 4 inches wide; opaque, etched, stained, frosted or translucent glass.”
Other standards include ensuring any glass adjacent to atria or courtyards containing water features, plants and other items that may attract birds are made of bird-friendly glass.
“Millions of birds die every year because of the glass [and] design we use for buildings. From now on, due to HB247, new [government] buildings will use bird-safe glass to save feathered friends,” Rep. Bob Morgan, the primary sponsor for the bill, stated in a posting on Twitter.
The act states that the listed requirements shall only apply to state buildings under the management or control of the Department of Central Management Services Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois. Still, it does not include buildings leased by the department or any project in the design or construction phase as of the effective date.
The act is listed with an effective date of January 1, 2022.