Nature Forward Supports Bird Safe Buildings

Update 2/7/23:

On Tuesday, December 6th, the DC Council unanimously passed the Migratory Local Wildlife Protection Act (also known as the Bird Bill)!  The Chairman of the Council noted today the “wide support” from our many organizations and members of the public at our hearing last month.  It does show that there’s power in numbers and that our committed and effective testimony really made the difference, so thank you so much for your part! 

It will take effect for all permits issued after October 1 of 2024, but since permits can take 6 months or more to be processed, it means that by early 2024, new buildings submitted for permit must be bird safe.  This is an enormous accomplishment that will save thousands of birds’ lives! 

On January 26, Mayor Bowser signed the Migratory Local Wildlife Protection Act into law.  It has now made it through the major hurdles. It still must be approved by Congress (Congress must approve all DC laws), and we will need to continue to advocate for DC budget needs to include sufficient funds the Department of Buildings (DOB) will need to enforce it!  

This would not have happened without the immense support that DC residents, Nature Forward members, volunteers, and our partner organizations showed for this bill.  Thank you to City Wildlife for their leadership in this effort!  

Originally published 11/2/2022

On October 21st, Nature Forward testified at the Committee of the Whole Public Hearing on the Migratory Wildlife Protection Act, also known as Bird Safe Buildings Act.

What’s Happening?

Each year likely thousands of birds are being killed by hitting glass buildings in DC.  Since 2010, Lights Out DC volunteers have documented more than 4,500 strikes, most in the small downtown area they monitor.  85% of these strikes were fatal. These bird fatalities are increasing in DC as more and more glass buildings are being built.  In 2011, 212 birds were found.  In 2021, 738 birds were found. Effective and inexpensive measures, including bird-safe glass products, can be incorporated in buildings to prevent these collisions and are readily available, but our building industry is not yet using them.  The Migratory Local Wildlife Protection Act calls for most new or substantially remodeled buildings in DC to incorporate these bird-friendly measures.

Why Take Action?

These birds are valuable not only in and of themselves, but they also serve to enrich our environment, maintaining the biodiversity upon which we all depend.  If their populations decline, the entire wildlife chain is disrupted and weakened, and humans lose the ecological services birds provide as key pollinators of our crops, fields, and forests.  

Maintaining bird populations is key to our nation’s resilience. Protecting migratory birds is in line with the city’s sustainability plan, Sustainable DC 2.0, which charts progress on biodiversity in the following areas:  

  • Create a habitat connectivity plan to guide restoration of viable, native habitats throughout Washington DC and in coordination with surrounding jurisdictions.  
  • Provide informational resources on backyard wildlife habitats, native plant gardening, container and vertical gardening, and creating pollinator habitats. 
  • The District Government will incorporate nature into the places we live, play, and work, to reduce stress and improve health—known as biophilic design. Reducing bird/glass collisions is also listed as a recommended Conservation Action in the District’s 2015 Wildlife Action Plan (Section 6.4.6).  

Thank you to the action takers that have submitted over 70 letters to the council so far. Please share this letter campaign to support this bill and click the button below to TAKE ACTION.

Read Nature Forward’s testimony below: