Environmental board discusses, delays ordinance for preventing bird collisions with buildings

Ben Winck, Assistant City Editor

The Evanston Environmental Board met Thursday to discuss their initiative to prevent bird collisions with building renovations before tabling the issue for their meeting in November.

The planned ordinance was set to be presented to the public at Thursday’s meeting, but the board cited a lack of deeper research and pushed the issue to November. Environmental board member Noreen Edwards said that won’t kill the initiative, and the board is still working to make sure it gets to City Council.

“We don’t have to have an ordinance to start trying to do things to help prevent bird collisions and deaths,” Edwards said.

Bird collisions have influenced Chicagoland building changes for years, according to Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, a volunteer conservation project focused on preventing unnecessary bird collisions. Many skyscrapers turn their lights off to protect migrating nocturnal birds. The Aqua Tower in downtown Chicago, for example, uses special glass and curved balconies to help birds see the building and avoid crashing into it. This technology can help address the issue in Evanston, Edwards said.

“There’s a little girl I know who goes to Dewey Elementary and found two dead birds by windows at school. She was so upset,” Edwards said. “She’s running for student council, and she wanted to make this her platform, to save the birds.”

Although the board hoped to pass the ordinance as soon as possible, it conceded it needed more research into the costs behind the renovations.

“If we’re making an ordinance that’s going to affect building codes and spend a lot of money, we’re probably going to get pushback from developers,” Edwards said. “So we need to do all this background work before that can happen.”

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