09 May 2011

First National Corporation Fails to Address Bird Strikes

There have been 35 known occurrences of birds striking the glass facades of buildings associated with the First National Bank Corporation. The structures under consideration include, predominantly the First National tower, with only a few other records available of birds striking a structure owned by this corporation.

A letter dated 13 April 2011 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Field Office, conveys the situation. A copy of the letter obtained from the agency says a meeting was held at the First National Building on 22 April 2010.

According to personal contacts with the agency, another meeting was held onsite in downtown Omaha in early April 2011.

Details indicated by this letter, denoted as "priority corrective measures" were:

"Based on a review of the documents you provided, information gathered from other sources and citations, and a review of the FNB buildings avian mortality risk factors, the Service recommends the following corrective actions be taken at the FNB Tower, FNB Building, and at the FNB Data Center in downtown Omaha to prevent and minimize migratory bird death and/or injury at windows during peak spring (April 15 - May 31) and fall migration periods (August 15-October 31).
"Install temporary transparent of perforated patterned, non-reflective window films that make glass visible to birds (examples include Scotchprint or CollidEscape) on windows that tend to be hazardous, focusing efforts on Atrium (winter garden) windows and those lower windows located on the north east corner of the FNB Tower, and other lower level windows at other buildings.
"Brightly lit lobbies with greenery features are extremely dangerous to a migratory bird that has been drawn into the city by light pollution. Relocate interior plantings, water sources or other features that are causing birds to crash into glass windows.
"Replace interior foliage in atriums with artwork, sculptures, banners, or other forms of art.
"Reduce interior light levels during evening and nighttime hours. Staff working late can use task lighting at work stations and turn off ceiling lights closest to windows. Close curtains or blinds during the evenings if the interior is illuminated.
"Eliminate upper architectural lighting from 11:00 pm - 7:00 am during spring and fall migration periods. Building owners and managers can make sure that lights are out at night on unused floors. Lighting control systems can be installed to reduce energy consumption, save money and protect birds' lives. It is important to turn off exterior floodlights during spring and fall migration.
"Reduce spill light and optimize useful light. Street-level light, though preferably down-shielded, and airplane warning lights are not affected. Many buildings are also interested in certification through the LEED system - a "green" rating system for buildings, indicating Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Building owners, managers, employees and also tenants also take pride in their participation in Lights Out. There is really no downside to Lights Out."

The letter to the FNB corporation continued and included several web-links to information on "Lights Out" programs.

None of these measures had apparently been implemented as of early May, 2011.

On the morning of 7 May - faux International Migratory Bird Day - a disabled Gray Catbird was readily noticed at the east entrance to the atrium on the north side of the First National Tower. There have been multiple been multiple bird strikes documented at this place.

This particular bird of special significance was carefully grabbed and then kept in a safe place so it could recover from its smashing impact. It received motorized transport to Levi Carter Park, where it was released into a natural habitat so it could fly free in a safe environment. Upon its flight, it flew to a nearby tree, apparently to consider its condition and where it would henceforth fly further along on its spring migration.

FNB Staff Talk Yet do Nothing

Representatives from this corporate entity have said a lot - during personal conversations in the past three years - but have apparently not undertaken any steps to address the apparent and ongoing problem. done nothing.

There will be more bird strikes at this building. How this situation is adequately addressed and resolved is still quite uncertain, years after the first awareness on this issue. The final resolution depends upon the corporation, which based upon government correspondence and personal contacts, talks a lot but does nothing.

Sparrow which was temporarily disabled by striking the atrium glass at the First National Bank Tower. Morning of 9 May 2011.