Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Bird City Helps Bucks Open the World’s First Bird-Friendly Arena

Fiserv Forum Milwaukee Bucks
Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks. Photo by Milwaukee Bucks/Kenny Yoo.

With an assist from Bird City Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bucks have achieved a first with their new arena: Fiserv Forum will be the world’s first bird-friendly sports and entertainment arena upon completion of the Bucks’ application for LEED Silver® certification.

The 17,500-seat arena is located in the heart of Milwaukee, a Bird City Wisconsin community since 2012.

“Bird City Wisconsin came to us three years ago to educate us on migration and best practices,” said Bucks President Peter Feigin. “We were able to integrate many of their suggestions in the design phase of the project.”

Partnering with the team was a natural fit for Bird City, because the organization works tirelessly to help its 109 Bird City communities do all they can to further bird conservation.

According to a press release issued by Fiserv Forum, Bird City, and American Bird Conservancy, construction of the bird-friendly arena is a significant victory for bird conservation, as up to a billion birds die annually in the United States after colliding with glass. Scientists estimate that the total accounts for 5 to 10 percent of the birds in the United States and that the mortality contributes to ongoing declines in bird populations across North America.

Read the press release: 
Press-Release---Bird-Friendly-Fiserv-Forum-Press---Final.pdf.

“The Milwaukee Bucks’ bold decision to build the world’s first bird-friendly arena speaks volumes about the ownership’s character, concern for the environment, and desire to be a part of a green community,” said Bryan Lenz, Bird City’s former director. “The Bucks stepped up for birds in a way that no sports franchise ever has," he said. "Hopefully, the team’s message -- that designing with birds in mind is an achievable goal -- will set Fiserv Forum up as a model for arenas, stadiums, and all other buildings for years to come.”

Lenz recently joined American Bird Conservancy as its collisions campaign manager.

Fiserv Forum was designed to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program Bird Collision Deterrence credit (SSpc55), which was created in partnership with American Bird Conservancy. Buildings that achieve the Bird Collision Deterrence credit address the primary reasons that birds collide with buildings -- reflective and see-through glass and lighting that disorients birds during their nocturnal spring and fall migrations. Credit SSpc55 has already been approved on the pending LEED application for Fiserv Forum.

The Wisconsin Humane Society will also work with the Bucks to monitor the arena for collisions, following a plan designed in partnership with Bird City Wisconsin and American Bird Conservancy.

Documenting that a municipal or major public building has been awarded LEED certification as a bird-friendly building is one of the criteria that Bird City offers to Wisconsin communities who want to earn recognition as a Bird City. Preventing window collisions figures prominently in the criteria, which include creating and maintaining habitat, managing community forests, educating the public, energy and sustainability, and celebrating World Migratory Bird Day, as well as limiting or removing threats to birds.

In addition to achieving the LEED SSpc55 credit, municipalities seeking Bird City status can also opt to provide information on how to protect birds from window strikes; participate in a Lights Out program that dims building lights during the spring and fall migration; enact a collision-monitoring program and treat problem windows; and register a building in the Wisconsin Humane Society’s WIngs BirdSafe Business program.

View all of Bird City's recognition criteria.

A number of organizations played critical roles in the construction of the world’s first bird-friendly arena, including Bucks’ leadership, Populous, CAA ICON, Bird City Wisconsin, American Bird Conservancy, Eppstein Uhen, Mortenson, M-E Engineers, France Sustainable Solutions, and HNTB. The partners finished the design process with newfound knowledge on how to build and operate buildings with birds in mind -- knowledge that they will carry to future projects.

Additional efforts made by planners -- landscaping with native plants, operations that do not use straws or other petroleum products, a composting program, and low-flow toilets -- demonstrate that the Bucks ownership is serious about its environmental footprint, said the team. Fiserv Forum was also built using high-recycled content, regionally sourced materials, and low-emission products that help provide healthy indoor air quality for staff and guests.

The Bucks plan to provide details about their LEED/Green initiatives and to offer LEED/Green tours of Fiserv Forum during the 2018-19 basketball season. 

Learn how you can treat your windows so they no longer pose a threat to birds.

The mission and rationale of Bird City Wisconsin.

Order bird-friendly coffee from Bird City.

More information about Fiserv Forum.