June 12th, 2012 | Corey Pein News | Posted In: Business, City Hall, Environment, Activism

Report: Portland Buildings Not For The Birds

peregrine falcon interstate bridgeA Peregrine Falcon nests on the Interstate Bridge. - Audubon Society, Bob Sallinger

This week the city of Portland will co-host an architects' and developers' forum on "bird-friendly building design." The subject is more interesting than you might think, at least as explained in draft report by the local Audubon Society (pdf).

From the report:

Today, collisions are estimated to account for the death of up to 1 billion birds annually in the US alone. At a time when 1 in 4 bird species are showing precipitous population declines, anthropogenic threats to our bird populations with achievable, if incremental, solutions demand our attention.

Society volunteers have been studying the local impact for the past three years. The results?

During spring and fall migration, trained volunteers surveyed twenty-one buildings at dawn looking for evidence of strikes. Following low detection rates during the pilot season [in 2009], building owners and managers, maintenance people, and tenants in each target building were solicited for collision reports. Detection rates increased as a result of increased reporting from areas outside of the rightof-way (courtyards, balconies, terraces, ecoroofs, etc).

BirdSafe surveys catalogued up to 62 collisions per season on survey, and a cumulative total of 35 native species were detected.  …

While residential surveys using volunteers are virtually impossible due to private property limitations and staggering scope, much residential data can be gleaned from the Audubon Wildlife Care Center (WCC). As reported in the Residential and Small Building Collisions and Treatments section on page 26, Audubon’s WCC brought in 590 window strikes of 86 native species in 2009, 2010, and 2011 combined, primarily from residential properties.

The report includes a number of proposed window, facade, landscaping and lighting design guidelines to mitigate bird strikes. But it looks like the city will not enter those guidelines into code. "The resource guide is not about new regulations. Instead, it is a catalyst for community education, engagement and action," Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson says in the event announcement.

Learn more about the June 14 downtown event and register here.

 
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