Tuesday, August 21, 2012
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Angela Speed
American Family Insurance’s National Headquarters
Building Designated “Bird-Safe” by Wisconsin Humane Society
This Yellow Warbler was treated at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at WHS after colliding with a window.
Milwaukee, Wis. – The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) is proud to announce that the American Family Insurance national headquarters in Madison has been designated as an official “WIngs BirdSafesm” building as part of the WHS Wisconsin Night Guardians for Songbirds (WIngs) program.
Companies awarded this designation dim or extinguish their lights during overnight hours, especially during bird migration periods in the spring and fall, to prevent birds from colliding with buildings. It is estimated that between 100 million and 1 billion birds die each year in North America from building collisions.
Birds often migrate at night and can be drawn off course by illuminated buildings in their flight path. The birds may then collide with the building’s windows or become confused by the lights, and circle the lighted area until they fall exhausted to the ground. Turning off unnecessary lights in buildings has been shown to reduce the number of birds attracted to such structures, and saves birds’ lives.
“It’s been very sad to witness several bird-window collisions at our national headquarters building,” said Rita Garczynski, American Family Insurance facilities site manager. “The birds ranged in size from a Great Blue Heron to a Black and White Warbler. The idea of dimming interior lights during certain peak migration times really caught my attention since we had an opportunity to save birds as well as help reach our company’s sustainability goals to reduce energy use.”
The Wisconsin Humane Society started the WIngs program in the spring of 2005. Many avian window collision victims are admitted to their wildlife hospital in Milwaukee each year. The WIngs program includes initiatives to stop migratory bird deaths at home, at work and throughout the community.
Scott Diehl, the wildlife manager at WHS, worked with Garczynski to have American Family Insurance implement lifesaving initiatives on their 1.3 million square-foot campus, such as:
• Minimize night lighting (lighting visible through exterior windows and exterior vanity lighting)
during spring and fall migration periods
• Utilize motion-detectors to control lights
• Reschedule night cleaning to reduce the amount of time lights are needed
• Re-program timers to fit hours of operation and cleaning
• Reduce perimeter lighting
• Install lower-intensity lighting
• Monitor for bird window collisions at their national headquarters building
“We are thrilled that American Family Insurance has chosen to become a WIngs BirdSafesm Building and we hope they inspire other Wisconsin businesses to participate in this program,” said Diehl. “Not only is American Family saving birds’ lives, but they’re saving money and energy, too. It’s a win-win.”
For more information about how your business, school, campus or home can become an official Wisconsin Humane Society “WIngs BirdSafesm Building,” visit www.wihumane.org/wildlife/wings/default.aspx or contact Scott Diehl at email@example.com.