Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute Bird Expert Testimony on Migratory Local Wildlife Protection Act of 2022

Testimony begins at 1:35:42

Hello, my name is Sara Hallager and I am Curator of Birds at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. I’m here today to thank you for considering policies to protect the wellbeing of birds through bird-friendly building legislation in the District of Columbia. It is critical that migratory birds are provided safe passage through Washington DC during spring and fall migrations as well as those birds that call Washington, D.C., home year-round. Migratory birds play essential roles in the ecosystem by helping with pest control and pollination of plants. Science-based research proves that collisions with windows are a major threat to birds, with estimates of nearly 1 billion birds killed annually in the United States.

Zoological institutions around the world are addressing collisions of wild birds with glass in their operations. Bird friendly glass is not only better for the birds but is also aesthetically pleasing. More and more, bird-friendly design strategies are adopted in new construction in zoos and aquariums, including the Smithsonian. Our mission is to save species and educate the public in the process. We made the commitment to bird friendly architecture for our new Bird House, a major capital renovation which incorporates bird friendly glass throughout the interior and exterior of the building. We’re highlighting the bird-friendly window treatments for our visitors through Interpreters and interpretive labels including information on actions they can take in their own homes. It is a powerful lesson that together we can build bird-friendly architecture and educate millions of visitors each year on the glass strike issue, conservation implications, and the attainable solutions. If people understand the benefits of protecting their home windows from bird strikes, they will be very likely to expect the same protections in buildings throughout Washington, D.C. Please visit the new Bird House at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute to see how easy it is to make windows bird friendly.

Esteemed Council Members: Thank you for your serious consideration of the issue. Smithsonian experts are happy to extend expertise to assist with your deliberations.