By Alex Israel
The New York City Council voted to pass Int. 1482-B, the Bird-Friendly Materials bill, during a legislative session today. Council Members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine—who represent the Upper West Side—co-sponsored the bill, a culmination of a years-long effort from bird advocacy groups like the Wild Bird Fund.
Building glass and light pollution create major hurdles for migratory birds during spring and fall, killing between 90,000 and 230,000 birds annually across the five boroughs, according to an estimate from NYC Audubon.
Int. 1482-B will amend the administrative code of the city of New York and the New York city building code to require the incorporation of bird-friendly materials on newly constructed or altered buildings.
The bill represents the city’s first formal effort to help reduce bird strike fatalities (a state senate bill to introduce a bird-friendly building council was vetoed by Governor Cuomo last month), and has been touted as the first of its kind in the country at this scale.
We are voting today on the bill, Intro 1482, making NYC the first major city in nation to tackle this. Thanks @NYCSpeakerCoJo, @RLEspinal, @NYCAudubon, @theanimalvoters, @nyclass, @wildbirdfund for making this happen.
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 10, 2019
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of birds in New York – including over 100 species that we know of – die brutally and unnecessarily as a result of collisions with reflective or transparent glass buildings,” said Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of NYCLASS, an animal rights organization, in a press release. “NYCLASS applauds Speaker Johnson, Council Member Espinal, and their colleagues for making our city more humane by creating a more bird-friendly skyline.”
According to the text of the bill, the mandate will take effect a year after the Mayor signs it into law, and will apply to all construction projects moving forward.