The Coalition for a Bird-friendly Asheville is an innovative approach to bird conservation. Our goal is to advocate for the protection of migratory and resident birds through the implementation of measures that will support their safety, including 1) a lights-out commitment during migration months, and 2) bird-safe window treatment.
The city of Asheville exists along a major migratory path for birds: the Appalachian Mountains. As part of the greater Atlantic Flyway, our mountains serve as a migration route for hundreds of species of birds, many of which are declining in population. Drawn away from the safety of this pathway into the city by artificial light, many birds are fatally colliding with windows as they make their migratory journeys. Through uniting community members and businesses and by working with Asheville City Council, we will make Asheville a safer place for its avian residents and visitors.
Education - Our first goal is to educate ourselves, the community, and tourists alike on this issue. This will be done by surveying and collecting city-wide bird strike data, communicating with similar successful and unsuccessful initiatives to learn from their work, and promoting community involvement in our work. The realization of this goal will result in a clearer understanding of bird-window collisions in the city of Asheville and the production and distribution of educational material to community and national partners.
Solutions - Once we have evaluated the scope of the issue in the city of Asheville, we will work with community members, building and business owners, Asheville City Council, and various partner organizations to create the best possible solutions for all parties. A solution might come in the form of turning off extraneous lighting during a certain time period each day, hanging drapes or installing screens or window films in problem windows, moving indoor plants away from window sills, and/or creating policy to require bird-safe glass treatment on new construction.
Leadership - Our final goal is to pave the way for future bird-friendly building and behavior commitments. If we are successful, Asheville will join many other cities, including Charlotte and Winston-Salem, to implement lights-out policies, and will be among the first cities to commit to bird-friendly buildings alongside San Francisco, Oakland, and New York. From our example, other groups seeking to reduce bird fatalities in their city can utilize our experiences to spark change in their communities.
Feb/March 2021 - In conjunction with a presentation by Heidi Trudell, Director & Chair of the Safe Passage Great Lakes Committee, we will launch our website, which will feature contact information, ways to volunteer, and educational toolkits.
March 15 - May 31, 2021 (Spring Migration) - Window strike data will be collected for the city of Asheville by members and volunteers. We will work toward finalizing a presentation to make to City Council and Asheville’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE).
June/July 2021 - We will deliver the presentation, including data on window strikes, to City Council.
Learn more about these efforts and how you can help by visiting birdsafeavl.org.