Hundreds of migrating birds die after crashing into NYC glass towers

Migrating birds
Hundreds of migrating birds die after crashing into NYC glass towers

Hundreds of birds migrating through New York City this week have died after crashing into the city’s glass towers.  A mass casualty event spotlighted by a New York City Audubon volunteer’s tweets showing the World Trade Center littered with bird carcasses.

  • This week’s avian death toll was particularly high, but bird strikes on Manhattan skyscrapers are a persistent problem that NYC Audubon has documented for years, said Kaitlyn Parkins, the group’s associate director of conservation and science.
  • Stormy weather Monday night into Tuesday contributed to the deaths, she said. “We had a big storm and sort of weird weather and lots of birds, and that’s sort of the perfect combination that can lead to bird-window collisions,” Parkins added.
  • “It seems that the storm might have brought the birds in lower than they would have otherwise been, or just disoriented them,” Parkins added. “The effects of nocturnal light on birds is also quite strong, especially when it’s a cloudy night.”
  • Volunteers with NYC Audubon document bird deaths at high-risk spots during the spring and fall migrations.
  • Melissa Breyer, the volunteer who tweeted about finding nearly 300 birds on sidewalks surrounding the new World Trade Center towers, said the experience was “overwhelming”.
  • “As soon as I got to the buildings, the birds were everywhere on the sidewalk,” Breyer said. “Looking north, covered, south, covered, west, covered, 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 by treating glass to make it more visible to birds.

A total of 77 birds were taken to the Wild Bird Fund’s rehab facility on the Upper West Side, the majority of them from the trade center area, director Ritamary McMahon said.