San Francisco to Protect Birds from Flying into Buildings

deadbird1.jpg
Unless you're part of a small cadre of environmental activists, the danger posed to birds by high-rise buildings is probably not an issue in the forefront of your mind. Unless, of course, you are a member of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, which just saw fit to pass a new set of development regulations intended to make our avian neighbors' flight paths through downtown a little less life-threatening.

Now, don't snicker, folks: Studies indicate that this is, in fact, a problem. As the new policy drafted by the city's Planning Department states, "Over 30 years of research has documented that buildings and windows are the top killer of wild birds in North America ... Structure collision fatalities may account for between 100 million and 1 billion birds killed annually." That wide range might seem like a wildly speculative statistic, but do you, San Franciscan, want the blood of those birds on your hands?

The perils faced by birds within city limits come down to glass and light, according to the city's new standards. Reflective or transparent glass on high-rises can invite birds to fly straight into windows. At night, migrating birds can be distracted off-course by bright lights. Coit Tower, for instance, so pleasing to the eye when lit up at night, is described in the city standards as having a pernicious "beacon effect" "that draws birds like a moth to a flame."

The standards require that many new buildings minimize or shield their lights at night, and use methods for obfuscating their glass -- such as "fritting," or a pattern of small dots -- so that birds are warned off.

The legislation, which was signed into law by Mayor Ed Lee, is already garnering praise from the likes of the American Bird Conservatory and Golden Gate Audubon Society. Supervisor Eric Mar -- who is of national repute for some of his other eccentric regulatory quests -- was its sponsor.

"Protecting and helping birds is not only the right thing to do, it is also good for the economy and the future of our environment," Mar said in a statement. "Birds are invaluable as controllers of crop insect pests, pollinators of plants, and seed distributors; they also generate tremendous economic revenues through the pastimes of bird feeding and birdwatching. We need to do what we can to protect them."

Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF

My Voice Nation Help
6 comments
buy spice online
buy spice online

They won’t approve a cave for occupancy, and they won’t give you a permit to build a lean-to.

spice herbal incense
spice herbal incense

I think that how they can stop birds to fly through the buildings although they use standards and follow this by shield their lights but it is really they need as because it will help both the future of our environment and economy they must have to protest for this and no one has time for this.

Jerry Premo
Jerry Premo

I know how to prevent birds from crashing into buildings, knock all of the buildings down to one story!  That kind of stupid solution is prefect for Californians.

TD
TD

The real problem is the birds. Their brain is not constructed to decipher a reflection  from a real image.  The obvious solution is to round up all of the birds and perform a lobotomy much like the ones already performed on the citizens of San Francisco by the Board of Supervisors.

Toddy Bob
Toddy Bob

Each Windmill account for the death of 1000 birds each year. Abolish windmills?

robertg222
robertg222

What about protecting birds from the wind turbines that the environmentalist want. Seems like the hypocrisy of environmentalist is showing again.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...