The Real Deal Chicago

These Chicago buildings are for the birds

Proposed rules would require developers make buildings more “bird friendly” to avoid collisions
February 11, 2019 11:00AM

(Credit: Pixabay)

Proposed new measures would push for changes in Chicago building designs to lessen the chance of birds dying from building collisions and confusing lights.

Alderman Brian Hopkins introduced the “Bird Friendly Design” ordinance for large-scale new construction and renovations, according to the Chicago Tribune. It would not apply to homes, townhouses, two-flats or buildings of less than six units. Congressman Mike Quigley of Chicago, meanwhile, introduced federal legislation that would require new or renovated public buildings to use bird-safe building materials and designs. It’s the fifth time he’s introduced the measure since 2010.

The alderman’s measure would require no more than 5 percent of a building’s lowest 36 feet of facade be glass-sheathed, unless it has etching, frosting or other “bird-safe” features. It also would require non-essential exterior lighting to be shut down overnight to keep from confusing migrating birds.

Michael Cornicelli, executive vice president of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago said the rules were unnecessary. He told the Tribune that owners already take steps to be bird-friendly, and worried about the cost of the proposed measures, particularly when it comes to existing buildings.

Wildlife advocates and designers alike have pushed for changes in architecture to make buildings less dangerous to birds, particularly as the industry turns more to glassy skyscrapers. [Chicago Tribune] — John O’Brien