Bird-Friendly Glass a Requirement of Newly Proposed NYC Legislation

New building requirements have been proposed in the Big Apple to curb the number of bird deaths in the city.

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The New York City Audubon estimates that every year anywhere from 90,000 to 230,000 birds die after hitting buildings in the city. A member of the NYC City Council recently proposed new legislation in an attempt to bring that number down and save the lives of countless birds.

“This is a staggering statistic, especially when we have the means to reduce it,” said City Council Member Rafael Espinal. “This bill strikes a careful balance in requiring bird-friendly glass only at heights where birds are most likely to be flying.”

According to Time, the new legislation would require all new construction and major renovation projects in New York City use “bird-friendly” glass. Specifically, the laws would require that at least 90 percent of the exterior of the first 75 feet of all new buildings are made with materials that birds can see.

“Unfortunately, our buildings have become a death trap for thousands of birds each year,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson told Time. “As a bird-friendly city, this bill will help protect our feathered friends and reduce the number of bird mortality due to collisions.”

In order to be considered “bird-friendly,” glass cannot be a clear, see-through pane. Instead, the glass needs to be glazed or be imprinted with some sort of pattern in order to be visible by birds.

The Real Estate Board of New York initially took issue with this proposed legislation, voicing concerns that there would not be enough bird-friendly material available to builders. Those concerns were addressed in a meeting with the council.

“We thank the Council for addressing a number of concerns we had with the original version, and support a science-based approach to reducing bird deaths,” said Basha Gerhards, the real estate group’s vice president of policy and planning. “We hope the Council will track over time the efficacy of these measures and monitor the commercial availability of these materials to optimize compliance and the goals of the bill.”

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