Speak Up for Birds in San Jose

Update: The San Jose City Council voted to prioritize bird-safe design for buildings near creeks.  Five votes were needed to prioritize this issue and it ended up getting six.  Thank you to all those who sent an email to the City Council!

On March 7 (note: the meeting has been rescheduled, it was previously scheduled for February 28) San Jose City Councilmembers will consider whether to prioritize bird-safe design guidelines for buildings near creeks. Please email city councilmembers by next Tuesday and ask them to protect birds in San Jose.

What’s Happening
Last August, San Jose approved a riparian corridor protection ordinance which included guidelines for bird-safe design, but only for buildings constructed in the area north of Highway 237, next to the Bay. Although this was a good first step, the fact is that bird deaths due to collisions with buildings occur throughout the city, not just in the area north of 237. Buildings near creek corridors are especially problematic since creek corridors are migratory pathways for birds, as well as providing nesting and foraging habitat.

On March 7, the city council will hold its annual priority-setting session to determine which ordinances and policy initiatives will be given priority over the coming year. Please join Committee for Green Foothills in urging the city council to prioritize expanding the bird-safe design program to include riparian corridor areas.

Why This is Important
Recent studies indicate that as many as 1 billion North American birds die each year as a result of collisions with glass windows and structures. San Jose’s location on the Pacific Flyway, where millions of birds migrate each year, means that San Jose is a critical area for preventing bird strikes. Building design that utilizes simple principles such as avoiding use of large areas of reflective or transparent glass and minimizing lighting during migration season can greatly reduce bird deaths. Cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Sunnyvale have already adopted bird-safe design ordinances; San Jose should follow their lead.

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