Hundreds of migrating songbirds crash into New York City skyscrapers

This photo provided by Melissa Breyer shows some of the dead birds collected near the World Trade Center in New York on Tuesday, September 14, 2021. Hundreds of birds migrating through New York this week have died after crashing into the towers glass of the city, a massively casualty event highlighted by tweets from an Audubon volunteer in New York City showing the World Trade Center littered with bird carcasses. (Mélissa Breyer via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) – Hundreds of birds migrating through New York this week have died after crashing into the city’s glass towers, an event with many casualties brought to light by a Tweets from Audubon volunteer in New York showing the World Trade Center littered with bird carcasses.

The bird death toll this week was particularly high, but bird strikes on Manhattan’s skyscrapers is a persistent problem that NYC Audubon has documented for years, said Kaitlyn Parkins, associate director of conservation and science. of the group.

“We had a big storm and kind of weird weather and a lot of birds, and it’s kind of the perfect combination that can lead to bird and window collisions,” Parkins said. “The stormy weather from Monday evening to Tuesday contributed to the deaths.

“It looks like the storm may have brought the birds lower than they otherwise would have been, or just disoriented them,” Parkins added. “The effects of nighttime light on birds are also quite strong, especially when the night is cloudy.”

NYC Audubon volunteers document bird deaths in high-risk locations during spring and fall migrations.

Melissa Breyer, the volunteer who tweeted about the discovery of nearly 300 birds on the sidewalks surrounding the new World Trade Center towers, said the experience was “overwhelming.”

“As soon as I got into the buildings the birds were all over the sidewalk,” Breyer said. “Looking north, overcast, south, overcast, west, overcast, the sidewalks were literally covered with birds.”

NYC Audubon wants the owners of the World Trade Center towers and other buildings to help reduce the number of bird strikes by dimming the lights at night and treating the glass to make it more visible to birds.

“Make sure they can see it and recognize it’s a solid barrier that they can’t cross,” Parkins said.

Jordan Barowitz, spokesperson for the Durst Organization, co-developer of One World Trade Center, said in an email: “The first 200 feet of One WTC are enclosed in non-reflective glass fins. This design was chosen because it dramatically reduces bird strikes which mostly occur below 200 feet and are often caused by reflective glass.

Dara McQuillan, spokesperson for Silverstein Properties, the developer of three other shopping center skyscrapers, said: “We care deeply about wild birds and protecting their habitat in the five boroughs. Understanding that artificial nighttime lighting, in general, can attract and disorient migratory birds, we actively encourage our office tenants to turn off their lights at night and lower their shades whenever possible, especially during the migration season. .

It wasn’t the last flight for all the crashed birds. Some survived.

A total of 77 birds were taken to the Wild Bird Fund’s rehabilitation center on the Upper West Side on Tuesday, the majority of them from the mall area, manager Ritamary McMahon said.

“We knew it would be a big migration ahead. They could tell it on radar,” said McMahon, who has scheduled additional staff to deal with an expected influx of injured birds.

Wild Bird Fund staff members gave the birds food, fluids and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling.

Thirty birds have recovered and were released into Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on Wednesday, McMahon said.

“One of our employees took an Uber to Prospect Park to free them so that they were no longer confronted with taller buildings on their trips,” she said.

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