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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley Reintroduces Bird-Safe Buildings Act to Prevent Bird Collisions

Jan 30, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), reintroduced the cost-neutral, bipartisan Bird-Safe Buildings Act. The bill, introduced with Representative Morgan Griffith (VA-09), requires that each public building constructed, acquired, or significantly altered by the General Services Administration (GSA) incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features, to the maximum extent possible. Rep. Quigley first introduced this bill in 2010 in the 111th Congress.

“Almost one third of all bird species in the U.S. hold endangerment status, which gives us the responsibility to protect birds from preventable deaths,” said Rep. Quigley. “By using materials that conceal indoor lighting to the outside, we can dramatically reduce the frequency of birds colliding with glass buildings. With birding activities supporting 620,000 jobs and bringing in $6.2 billion in state tax revenues, this is both an environmental and economic issue with a relatively simple, cost-neutral, and humanitarian fix.”

Each year, up to one billion birds die from building collisions. The Bird-Safe Buildings Act would require that new or significantly altered buildings include bird-safe materials in their construction. This bill will permanently limit bird deaths for little to no cost. Ultimately, it will protect endangered birds from dying preventable deaths by eliminating indoor light display to the outside.

“Many birds are confounded by human architecture and die needless deaths as a result,” said Rep. Griffith. “The Federal Government can help alleviate such unfortunate occurrences by incorporating bird-safe features into public buildings. I am glad to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce a bill making commonsense changes to the law at minimal cost that will save the lives of these wonderful creatures.”

Reps. Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Lee Zeldin (NY-01) are bipartisan co-sponsors, and the legislation is also endorsed by the Animal Welfare Institute, American Bird Conservancy, National Audubon Society, Bird Safe Glass Foundation, FX Fowle Architects, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and U.S. Green Building Council.

“Audubon is grateful to have a champion in Representative Quigley whose legislation addresses one of the biggest threats to birds,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation policy at National Audubon Society. “Hundreds of millions of birds die every year after colliding with glass exteriors. Through smart, practical guidelines, this legislation will make many federal buildings bird-friendly and set an example that can impact all our communities.”

"The legislation would help address one of the greatest human-caused threats to birds" said Dr. Christine Sheppard, Director of American Bird Conservancy (ABC)'s Glass Collisions Program. “Although this legislation is limited to federal buildings, it's a very good start that could lead to more widespread applications of bird-friendly designs and use of bird-smart glass solutions.”

“On behalf of our members we commend Congressman Quigley for introducing this important legislation. The bill is founded on existing best practice in building design and construction . The U.S. General Services Administration utilizes bird-safe building in its new construction standards and our LEED rating system supports optional strategies for bird collision deterrence. We hope congress will act swiftly in enacting this common sense policy,” said Bryan Howard, legislative director at U.S. Green Building Council.

In 2016, Rep. Quigley visited Loyola University Chicago to discuss migratory bird safety across the city and to learn what the university is doing to make buildings on its Lake Shore Campus more bird safe. 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 a 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 for the 2017 fiscal year.

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