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Photo by Tom Grey

Bird-Safe Buildings

Silicon Valley combines important avian habitats along the pacific flyway with a world-famous hub of innovation. Our valley is home to many of the most influential technology companies in the world. Some of these companies occupy large campuses that hold over 3,000 employees. Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society works to promote natural settings, especially on large campuses, to improve quality of life and workplace for employees, communities, and the environment. It is our hope that as companies realize the benefits of natural settings locally that it will spread to other campuses around the nation and even further abroad.

Window Strikes

It is estimated that up to a billion birds die annually as a result of window strikes in the US alone, a mortality rate second only to habitat destruction. In response to this problem, cities in our area such as San Francisco and San Jose have implemented Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings.

Learn how to prevent window strikes around your home, read You can save Birds from Flying into Windows (PDF) from American Bird Conservancy

Lights Out

Tall buildings can save many birds by turning-off decorative lighting on the upper stories from 11 PM until daylight from during spring migration. Tenants on these upper floors can also help by turning out lights or drawing blinds during these nighttime hours also. These recommendations apply to buildings of 40 or more stories, and to buildings of 20 or more stories that are isolated from other buildings.

Facebook Campus Considers Wildlife

The Facebook campus project in Menlo Park would increase occupancy in an existing campus bordering Ravenswood Slough (East Campus) and the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, and develop new buildings and parking structures (West Campus). Together with Sequoia Audubon Society, SCVAS submitted comments (January 2012) on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Project focusing on nine issues that would potentially affect biological resources. The Final Environmental Impact Report, together with the Development Agreement, recognized bird collision with windows as a significant impact (a first recognition of collision as significant under CEQA) and corrected many of the issues we raised. Among other commitments, Facebook will:

  • educate employees and visitors about the unique species next to the Property and their habitat requirements.
  • engage in "wildlife-friendly" behavior, such as (a) adopting policies requiring the trapping and removal of feral cats (b) employing wildlife-safe rodent control measures, and (c) encouraging beneficial species (through, for example, the installation of bat houses).
  • minimize light pollution and minimize risks of bird collision with windows.

Learn More

• Whenever Mike Lynes drives over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco and sees the sparkling blue citadel that is Rincon Tower, he doesn't think about the modern architecture or the sleek design. He thinks about one thing: dead birds. Architecture for the Birds from KQED's Quest, July 2011. Read.

Bird Friendly Building Design from American Bird Conservancy, contains lots of information about safe buildings. Read (PDF).

• SCVAS asked Facebook to envision a unique bird friendly campus and they thought it was a good idea! Read the lead article in the January/February 2013 Avocet, Facebook's New Campus Design is for the Birds!