Bird Nerds

This proposed ordinance to make county buildings bird-friendly will be discussed at a meeting of the Construction Committee of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County next Tuesday.

PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDMENT

AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 2-6 (BUILDING CONSTRUCTION)

WHEREAS, the Cook County Forest Preserves and surrounding areas are home to at least 290 known species of birds; and

WHEREAS, Cook County lies along the Mississippi Flyway, through which millions of birds of 300 different species pass every year; and

WHEREAS, birding is a hobby enjoyed by 64 million Americans and generates more than $40 billion a year in economic activity in the United States; and

WHEREAS, as many as one billion birds may be killed by collisions with windows every year in the United States, according to studies by Dr. Daniel Klem, professor of ornithology and conservation biology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and

WHEREAS, Field Museum scientists studying bird collisions at McCormick Place found that turning off lights reduces bird collision deaths by 83 percent; and

WHEREAS, the Chicago area is emerging as a national leader in protecting birds from collision; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago was the second city in the nation to sign the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds in 2000, a partnership between individual cities and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect migratory birds through habitat conservation and educational programs; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has developed a very successful Lights Out program in recent years, encouraging the owners and managers of skyscrapers to reduce illumination during migration periods; and

WHEREAS, in 2005 the City of Chicago and the Birds and Buildings Forum hosted the first-ever national conference on bird-safe buildings; and

WHEREAS, Cook County adopted the Green Buildings Ordinance in 2002, committing itself to construct buildings which minimize environmental harm; and

WHEREAS, bird-safe design features can be incorporated into new construction and major renovation projects at no extra cost, and existing buildings may be made bird-safe through the use of simple, low cost adaptations; and

WHEREAS, bird-safe practices often go hand-in-hand with energy efficiency improvements.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that Chapter 2 Administration, Article I, Section 2-6 (Building construction) of the Cook County Code is amended as follows:

Sec. 2-6. Building construction.

(f) New construction and major renovation projects shall incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features, including, but not limited to, those recommended by the City of Chicago’s “Bird-Safe Building Design Guide for New Construction and Renovation,” the City of Toronto’s “Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines,” and New York City Audubon’s “Bird-Safe Building Guidelines.”

(g) The County shall make existing buildings bird-safe where practicable.

*Referred to the Committee on Construction on 4/23/08.

293643 BIRD-FRIENDLY PILOT PROGRAM FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS (PROPOSED RESOLUTION). Submitting a Proposed Resolution by sponsored by Mike Quigley, County Commissioner.

*

And that’s not all.

*

PROPOSED RESOLUTION

BIRD-FRIENDLY PILOT PROGRAM FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS

WHEREAS, the Cook County Forest Preserves and surrounding areas are home to at least 290 known species of birds; and

WHEREAS, Cook County lies along the Mississippi Flyway, through which millions of birds of 300 different species pass every year; and

WHEREAS, birding is a hobby enjoyed by 46 million Americans and generates more than $30 billion a year in economic activity in the United States; and

WHEREAS, as many as one billion birds may be killed by collisions with windows every year in the United States, according to studies by Dr. Daniel Klem, professor of ornithology and conservation biology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and

WHEREAS, Field Museum scientists studying bird collisions at McCormick Place found that turning off lights reduces bird collision deaths by 83 percent; and

WHEREAS, the Chicago area is emerging as a national leader in protecting birds from collision; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago was the second city in the nation to sign the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds in 2000, a partnership between individual cities and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect migratory birds through habitat conservation and educational programs; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has developed a very successful Lights Out program in recent years, encouraging the owners and managers of skyscrapers to reduce illumination during migration periods; and

WHEREAS, in 2005 the City of Chicago and the Birds and Buildings Forum hosted the first-ever national conference on bird-safe buildings; and

WHEREAS, Cook County adopted the Green Buildings Ordinance in 2002, committing itself to construct buildings which minimize environmental harm; and

WHEREAS, bird-safe design features can be incorporated into new construction and major renovation projects at no extra cost, and existing buildings may be made bird-safe through the use of simple, low cost adaptations; and

WHEREAS, bird-safe practices often go hand-in-hand with energy efficiency improvements.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Cook County Board of Commissioners, that the County shall identify one existing facility for an initial pilot project at which various cost-effective bird-safe modifications, including, but not limited to, those measures recommended by the City of Chicago’s “Bird-Safe Building Design Guide for New Construction and Renovation,” the City of Toronto’s “Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines,” and New York City Audubon’s “Bird-Safe Building Guidelines”; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that such modifications shall be made and evaluated for their effectiveness in reducing bird collisions. Modifications shall be complete within twelve (12) months of the passage of this Ordinance and an evaluation report shall be delivered to the Board of Commissioners no later than twelve (12) months after the completion of modifications; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution, along with supplemental information, be forwarded to the Brookfield Zoo, the Chicago Botanic Garden, all suburban Cook County municipalities, and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Suburban Chicago.

*Referred to the Committee on Construction on 4/23/08.

The public may testify at this meeting. Persons wishing to testify should give their name and the name of any organization they are representing to the Secretary to the Board, 118 North Clark Street, Room 567, County Building, Telephone: (312) 603-6127. Also you can register at the above location, at the time of the meeting. Each organization will be limited to one speaker. Each speaker will be limited to 3 minutes. Speakers are requested to submit 30 copies of any written statement to the committee.

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6 responses to “Bird Nerds

  1. As a bird lover and a believer that birds are one of nature’s first warning signs of trouble, I wholeheartedly support these actions. I was also a supporter of the Lights Out program, which is energy efficient and prevents thousands of bird deaths each fall and spring.

  2. Plenty of the buildings are already pigeon safe. Does that count?

  3. Because of the reintroduction of peregrine falcons, including incorporating nesting site on tall buildings in the Loop, pigeons are no longer safe.

  4. divisionstreet

    I don’t want to speak for Nick, but I think he meant the political pigeons inside county buildings. 🙂

  5. I must be getting old, but I don’t understand that at all.

  6. I would pay big bucks to see a peregrine take on a political pigeon inside county buildings. My money is on the falcon.

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