Harvard Law School Clinic Calls for New Bird Safety Measures in University Building Standards

Bird safety has become a significant concern in recent years, with increasing evidence of bird collisions with buildings causing harm to these beautiful creatures. Harvard Law School Clinic recognizes the importance of protecting birds and has taken a proactive step by advocating for new bird safety measures in university building standards. This article will explore the reasons behind this call for action and discuss the potential solutions to mitigate bird collisions


Birds are vital components of our ecosystems, contributing to pollination, seed dispersal, and insect control. However, they face numerous threats, and one of the most significant is collisions with buildings. The Harvard Law School Clinic recognizes this issue and aims to address it by advocating for new bird safety measures in university building standards.

The Impact of Building Collisions on Birds

Bird collisions with buildings result in millions of bird fatalities each year. Glass windows and facades, in particular, pose a significant risk, as birds are unable to distinguish reflections from open spaces. This leads to fatal collisions, causing injuries, and disrupting bird populations. It is crucial to address this problem to protect the biodiversity and ecological balance that birds contribute to.

Harvard Law School Clinic’s Initiative

The Harvard Law School Clinic has embarked on an important initiative to promote bird safety in university buildings. By leveraging their legal expertise and influence, they aim to raise awareness among universities, architects, and policymakers about the need for bird safety measures. Their goal is to encourage the adoption of bird-friendly building designs and practices.

Benefits of Implementing Bird Safety Measures

Implementing bird safety measures brings several benefits. First and foremost, it helps safeguard bird populations and promotes biodiversity. It also enhances the aesthetic appeal of buildings by incorporating bird-friendly designs that complement the surrounding environment. Additionally, implementing bird safety measures can contribute to a university’s sustainability goals and demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship.

Proposed Bird Safety Measures

To mitigate bird collisions, the Harvard Law School Clinic proposes several bird safety measures for inclusion in university building standards. These measures may include:

  1. Using bird-safe glass: Installing bird-friendly glass that incorporates patterns or UV-reflective coatings to make windows more visible to birds.
  2. External deterrents: Utilizing external elements like netting, screens, or decals to create barriers that prevent birds from colliding with windows.
  3. Landscape design: Incorporating bird-friendly landscaping features such as vegetation, water sources, and perching areas to attract birds away from buildings.
  4. Lighting management: Implementing lighting strategies that reduce light pollution and minimize bird attraction, especially during migration seasons.
  5. Education and awareness: Promoting bird safety through educational campaigns to raise awareness among students, faculty, and staff.

The Role of Universities in Bird Conservation


Universities play a crucial role in bird conservation. By integrating bird safety measures into building standards, they can serve as leaders and inspire other institutions to follow suit. Universities have the opportunity to incorporate sustainability and environmental protection into their core values, shaping the next generation of environmentally conscious leaders.

Engaging Students and Staff

Engaging students and staff is essential in creating a culture of bird conservation. Universities can organize workshops, seminars, and interactive sessions to educate their community about the importance of bird safety. Involving students in monitoring and research projects can provide valuable data and foster a sense of responsibility towards bird conservation.

Funding and Resources

Implementing bird safety measures requires adequate funding and resources. Universities can explore partnerships with organizations, seek grants and donations, and allocate funds from sustainability budgets. By prioritizing bird safety, universities demonstrate their commitment to protecting biodiversity and creating a sustainable future.

Case Studies: Successful Bird-Safe Buildings

Several case studies showcase successful bird-safe buildings that have implemented bird safety measures effectively. These examples serve as inspiration for universities and architects looking to adopt bird-friendly designs. By highlighting these success stories, the Harvard Law School Clinic aims to demonstrate the feasibility and positive impact of bird safety measures.

Overcoming Challenges

Implementing bird safety measures may come with challenges such as budget constraints, conflicting priorities, and resistance to change. However, these challenges can be addressed through collaborative efforts, advocacy, and knowledge sharing. The Harvard Law School Clinic encourages universities to overcome these obstacles and take proactive steps towards bird conservation.

Public Awareness and Education

Public awareness and education play a crucial role in the success of bird safety initiatives. By conducting outreach programs, universities can raise awareness among the general public about the issue of bird collisions and the importance of bird safety measures. Through education and outreach, universities can inspire broader community involvement and support.

Legislative Support

To ensure the widespread adoption of bird safety measures, legislative support is vital. The Harvard Law School Clinic encourages the development of bird-friendly building guidelines and legislation. By enacting bird safety laws, governments can create a framework that incentivizes and mandates bird-friendly building practices across the country.

Collaboration with Architects and Engineers

Collaboration with architects and engineers is essential to implement bird safety measures effectively. By involving these professionals in the design and construction process, universities can ensure that bird-friendly features are integrated seamlessly. Building partnerships with architectural firms that specialize in bird-safe designs can facilitate the implementation of effective solutions.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation are critical components of any bird safety initiative. By assessing the effectiveness of implemented measures, universities can identify areas of improvement and fine-tune their strategies. Regular monitoring allows for data-driven decision-making, ensuring the continuous enhancement of bird safety efforts.


The call for new bird safety measures in university building standards by the Harvard Law School Clinic reflects the urgent need to protect birds from collisions with buildings. By implementing bird-friendly designs and practices, universities can lead the way in bird conservation, promoting biodiversity, and demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. It is essential for universities to embrace this initiative and take concrete steps towards making their campuses safer for our avian friends.

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