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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley, Griffith Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Millions of Bird Deaths

May 12, 2015
Press Release

Bill would require federal buildings to incorporate bird-safe measures

WASHINGTON -- Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), along with Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09), introduced the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act, which would help prevent the deaths of millions of birds by including bird-safe building materials and design features across federal buildings.

“Migratory bird season in Chicago reminds us that birds are not only beautiful animals telling us that warmer weather is on its way; but they help generate billions of dollars annually to the U.S. economy through wildlife watching activities,” said Rep. Quigley. “However, collisions with glass buildings claim hundreds of millions of bird lives each year in the U.S. The Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act, a cost neutral bill, would help prevent these deaths by including bird-safe building materials and design features across federal buildings.”

“This bill is a balanced approach, applying strictly to federal government buildings.  It is simple, cost neutral legislation that will protect millions of birds,” said Rep. Griffith. “I am proud to support this reasonable and practical step to curb unnecessary harm to some of our nation’s wild animals.”

America’s bird population has a very real and direct impact on our economy. According to the American Bird Conservancy, Americans spend about $36 billion in pursuit of birding activities. One in five Americans, 48 million people, engage in bird watching, and about 42 percent travel away from home to go birding. Birding activities generate about $4.4 billion in federal tax revenues and about $6.2 billion in state tax revenues, support about 670,000 jobs, and provide $38 billion in employment income.  

Rep. Quigley’s bill will save the lives of millions of birds by calling for each public building constructed, acquired, or significantly altered by the General Services Administration (GSA) to incorporate, to the maximum extent possible, bird-safe building materials and design features. Many buildings constructed by GSA are already, in fact, bird-friendly. The legislation would require GSA to take similar actions on existing buildings, where practicable.  

The following organizations have endorsed the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act of 2015: The Humane Society of the United States, American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Prendergast Laurel Architects.

Rep. Quigley’s bill is very similar to legislation he sponsored in 2008 when he was Cook County Commissioner. The ground-breaking legislation was approved unanimously by the Cook County Board of Commissioners and has served as a model of subsequent bird-safe ordinances across the country, including in San Francisco.

Rep. Quigley is a stalwart supporter of our wildlife and the environment. As a member of the bipartisan Animal Protection Caucus, Rep. Quigley has maintained a 100 percent policy rating with the Humane Society of the United States, and was recently rewarded with the Legislative Leader Award. Since assuming his role as the only Illinois member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep Quigley has fought for increased funding for animal protections, including in the Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavors (AWARE) Act and the Horse Protection Act. Rep. Quigley has worked to secure over $600 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which has helped Illinois implement 75 local and on the ground restoration projects, including efforts to fight invasive species like Asian carp. He has urged his colleagues in the House to put partisanship aside and craft America’s first national energy plan to address climate change. Rep. Quigley has opposed the environmentally harmful Keystone XL pipeline and fought for increased protections against oil and gas drilling. During his Chicago Climate Tour of 2013, he visited regional environmental sites to hear from experts on the local impact of climate change and efforts to address the issue.