Highland Park scouts for bird-friendly building enthusiasts to join task force
To spare birds from optical illusions culminating in collisions, Highland Park recently put out a call for a task force that will find ways to improve bird-friendly construction and design for commercial, industrial and residential properties.
Highland Park is issuing the request for dwellers at large, business owners, architects, engineers and developers to join the task force and aid the municipality’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) and Plan and Design Commission in creating bird-friendly building policies.
According to the American Bird Conservancy, building window collisions are the second-highest cause of death for birds in the nation, with between 300 million and 1 billion birds dying in such accidents in 2013.
Already geared toward bird-friendly construction, Highland Park became one of the first U.S. cities to strive for awareness in building techniques for commercial and multi-family buildings in June of 2015, when it submitted a proposal to the Plan Design Commission as part of its work plan for comment before board approval.
The city’s NRC recommended adopting bird-friendly rules for new construction, following guidelines of the LEED 55 program. The Plan and Design Commission fully supported the recommendation and encouraged the city to extend the policy to single-family properties as well.
Many birds meet untimely deaths when confused by clear glass facades on many newer buildings; ironically, many LEED-compliant structures use wide expanses of glass to increase natural lighting -- only to increase the risk of avian injuries. By covering glass windows with reflective coatings or embedding etched patterns or colors, architects can create disaster-proof vistas.
Interested parties are urged to contact the city manager’s office or visit the city’s website for more information.