Bird Conservation Through Sustainable Urban Development

  • Location
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Status
  • Age Level
    14 to 18 Years
    19 to 25 Years
    26 and Over

The Problem

Around the globe, bird populations are declining at an alarming rate. In North America alone, bird populations have diminished by 30% since 1970, an enormous loss. One major factor contributing to this decline is avian window collisions. Up to 1 billion birds die every year from window collisions in just the United States. Birds crash into windows for many reasons; in the day, the reflection of foliage often appears inviting to birds, and at night, the lights from within buildings often attract birds to the windows. Bird collisions are especially common during spring and fall migration, when huge scores of birds follow flyways (migration pathways). Boston, MA, is in the Atlantic Flyway, in which over 500 species of birds soar during migration season. This flyway, however, is also home to over one third of the nation’s human population, making it exceedingly important for birds and humans to be able to coexist more sustainably. There are many solutions to make windows bird-friendly and safe. Such solutions include dot patterns, tape products, and acopian bird savers (thin hanging ropes). The right solution depends on the type of building, the amount of glass, and the amount of surrounding foliage. People around the globe are beginning to retrofit buildings with bird-friendly glass, an incredible step forward in sustainable urban development. We must take action to protect birds and help bring back the world’s avian populations and biodiversity.

Our Plan

I am planning to start addressing this issue at my university in Boston, MA. I plan to start initiating conversations about this problem with faculty advisers, the grounds crew, and the sustainability committee to discuss available solutions and begin investigating which buildings on campus are the most dangerous for birds. I hope to advocate for bird conservation and make a difference on my campus by successfully encouraging the university to retrofit the campus’ most dangerous buildings for birds with bird-friendly glass. This would be an important step towards sustainable development, and would set a precedent for other universities and cities to follow. We need to act now to save birds, before it is too late.

Themes Addressed

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    Biodiversity Loss
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    Endangered Species
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The Benefit

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