Sunday, March 13, 2005I got scooped by the Chicago Tribune, this morning's paper has a story on the Birds and Buildings conference and the City of Chicago's role in sponsoring it. They quoted my fave local ornithologist, the ever humble and amazing Douglas Stotz, whose fan club i would like to start, as saying that the McCormick Place building killed seven songbirds last Monday. anyway i am totally happy that some non-birders are paying attention to the fact that glass on buildings is killing at least 900 MILLION birds every year, many of which are migrants and some of which are at-risk populations.
My favorite speaker at the conference was NOT Dr. Klem from Pennsylvania, the world's expert on this issue who used Calvin & Hobbes cartoons to punctuate his talk and who actually said the words, "I shagged my little buns over to the Science building on campus", but rather the Fish and Wildlife Service official, whose talk was eye-wateringly full of boring statistics of marginal relevance to his (mostly architects) audience. He rocked my world by saying, in a an affect-less, flat voice, that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act carries with it penalties for those who knowingly kill birds of at-risk species, followed by the mind-blowing statement, "The Fish and Wildlife Service does not want to be an enforcement agency. We would much rather partner with you than prosecute and fine you for designing structures that kill birds." AWESOME.
So, now that the Trib has done an adequate job of educating the general public on this issue, i can go a little more in depth with my article and talk about the architectural legacies that have brought us, as a continent, to this level of violence against birds.