San Francisco is Creating Bird Safe Architecture

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San Francisco's Planning Department is working to enact bird-safe standards by encouraging changes to the design of new buildings.  Birds collide with large glass towers at alarming rates because they perceive these structures to be wide open sky.  As we continue to fill out our skyline, enacting these guidelines will help protect the diverse wildlife we have in the city.  Plans are to enact these standards closest to areas with large populations of birds and wildlife--e.g. near the city's parks and beaches and along the Bay.  They will phase in the other neighborhoods later.

Interestingly enough, the new Federal Building, designed for energy efficiency, is noted as one of the most bird-safe buildings.  Its design has a grid or veil over the windows.  To a bird, this looks like a something solid, not sky and so they avoid it.  Other newer buildings in the city, including several condo towers that have been constructed in SOMA and South Beach present hazards to the birds because they have large expanses of glass on their facades.  There are ways to make these buildings safer for birds--by working with lighting and window coverings so that birds are less likely to collide with these buildings.

These standards have passed the Planning Commission and will be presented to SF's Board of Supervisors for a vote later this summer.