Event Details

Join the Cornell Alumni Association of Westchester for a presentation by:
Christine Sheppard, Ph.D.
Bird Collisions Campaign Manager
American Bird Conservancy
Birds are potent cultural symbols, play fundamental roles in ecosystem regeneration and are important natural controls for insects. Hundreds of millions are killed yearly by glass in the US alone. Birds cannot see glass, flying towards reflections of clouds, sky and vegetation and colliding with glass as they fly towards real habitat seen through glass. Birds collide with glass on structures of every size, from shacks to skyscrapers and almost half of collisions take place on homes. Advances in technology are increasing use of glass picture windows and other large glass features, increasing the rate of mortality.
The majority of birds killed are migrants, flying between breeding and wintering grounds. They fly by night and stop to refuel during the day, in places they are unfamiliar with. It takes several days for birds to find enough food to continue their journey. As they forage by day through cities, residential areas or industrial zones, they face constant threats from glass. Until recently, this problem has been almost unrecognized as an issue of sustainability. However, the Green Building Council has responded by adding a Pilot Credit, Reducing Bird Mortality, to the LEED rating system. Toronto, San Francisco and the state of Minnesota now mandate bird-friendly construction in some cases and more legislation is pending.
Increasingly we are able to provide solutions that will stop most collisions on existing glass. For home windows, there are solutions ranging from very cheap to relatively expensive, from fun to elegant. Moving into the future it will be increasingly necessary to design structures with impact on birds in mind. However, bird-friendly architecture need not imply more expensive construction nor reduced scope for creativity and generally does imply reduced energy consumption.

**Please note, that all Cornell Alumni participating in this event will gain free entrance to the Bronx Zoo after the event**