Important vote to protect Alameda birds


One of the many marvelous features of Alameda is its birds: those that nest here, those that spend the winter here and those that stop here briefly to “refuel” as they move from breeding to wintering locations.  

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, the City Council was asked to require builders in Alameda to take steps to protect those birds.  The Council considered amendments to the city’s building code to require bird-safe features on large windows when more than half of a side of a building is glass. There are many ways to make sure that birds can see and don’t fly into glass windows.  

Indeed, in addition to preventing bird collisions, which often result in death to the bird, using bird-safe glass lowers the cost of heating and cooling a building, an added advantage in today’s world. Simple, inexpensive prevention measures that anyone can implement include shades, blinds and screens.  

In addition, the ordinance will require that outdoor lighting on new and renovated buildings is directed where it is needed, down and out, not up into the sky. This is another way to protect migrating birds. Many studies have shown that migrating birds are drawn off course and may exhaust themselves circling lighted buildings at night. 

We are proposing one change in the ordinances as presented to the Council — to apply the bird-safe glass requirements to replacement windows in existing buildings. We urge the City Council to adopt the proposed amendment and then adopt the amendments to the building code.


Marjorie E Powell & Linda L. Carloni