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Quigley Moves to Prevent Millions of Bird Deaths

May 21, 2013
Press Release

Bill would require federal buildings to incorporate bird-safe measures.

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) introduced the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act to prevent the deaths of millions of birds that collide with federal buildings across the country each year.

“The way we live our lives cannot be detrimental to other species, and yet collisions with glass on buildings is a man-made issue that kills millions of birds each year,” said Rep. Quigley.  “This completely cost-neutral bill will save these birds’ lives without requiring unrealistic actions or expenditures. I’m proud to continue what we started in Cook County and work with the American Bird Conservancy to do all we can to make sure birds continue to be a part of our world.”

The American Bird Conservancy estimates as many as one billion birds, both resident and migratory, die in building collisions each year. Rep. Quigley’s bill calls for each federal public building constructed, acquired, or altered by the General Services Administration (GSA) to incorporate, to the maximum extent possible, bird-safe building materials and design features. The legislation would require GSA to take similar actions on existing buildings, where possible. The bill has been deemed cost-neutral by the Congressional Budget Office.

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.

“From three hundred million to one billion birds or more die each year from collisions with glass on buildings—from skyscrapers to homes.  While this legislation is limited to federal buildings, it’s a very good start that could lead to more widespread applications of bird-friendly designs elsewhere,” said Dr. Christine Sheppard, ABC Bird Collisions Campaign Manager.

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Rep. Quigley speaks with staff at the Field Museum in Chicago about the environment's impact on local birds.

America’s bird population has a very real and direct impact on our economy. Americans spend about $36 billion in pursuit of birding activities.  These activities generate about $4.4 billion in federal tax revenues, nearly $6.2 billion in state tax revenues, roughly 670,000 jobs, and provide $28 billion in employment income.

Rep. Quigley is a stalwart supporter of our wildlife and the environment. During his recent Chicago Climate Tour, he visited critical environmental sites to hear from experts on the local impact of climate change and efforts to address the issue. He has consistently reiterated support for strong EPA regulatory authority and protection of public health by voting against anti-regulatory, anti-environment legislation and has called on Congress to craft a national energy plan to make America stronger.

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