Winter is closer than we think and with that comes the migration of thousands of our country’s birds. Migration itself is a simple concept. However, ground-restricted creatures such as ourselves may not realize the dangers that threaten our feathered friends each year. Most recently, a conservationist in New York City counted the unbelievable total of almost 300 deceased migratory birds. The animals died after colliding with our nation’s World Trade Centers.
The tally comes from earlier this week, taken by volunteer bird collision monitor, Melissa Breyer. The tally includes songbirds such as black-and-white warblers, American redstarts, and ovenbirds. Breyer participates as a member of one of the city’s bird conservation groups, New York City Audubon.
According to a New York Post article, the volunteer monitor encounters up to 20 deceased birds during her trips. Therefore, when she took her tally on Tuesday, she experienced a major shock. “It was an overwhelming thing,” she told the outlet. “I looked around and it was like a nightmare.”
With several hundred of the dead animals covering walkways surrounding the World Trade Centers, there’s no doubt the sight was unpleasant. The large number of deceased birds came as a result of a heavy migration period, topped with a mild storm.
After her outing, Breyer emphasized that building tenants should turn out lights as much as possible. Additionally, she said non-reflective window treatments applied to the structures would help resolve many of the birds’ issues.
Conservationists Call on Representatives to Prevent Maximum Bird Fatalities
NYC Audubon’s associate director of conservation and science, Kaitlyn Parkins, expanded on further concepts to help reduce fatalities. “[Operators] can reduce nighttime lighting to help reduce light cause collision,” she said. Additionally, “you can treat reflective glass so it looks solid to birds.”
World Trade Center representatives highlighted their concern for the deceased birds amid the latest fatalities. “We care deeply for wild birds and protecting their habitat in the five boroughs,” stated a Silverstein Properties spokeswoman. Silverstein Properties runs NYC’s WTC towers. “[We] are actively encouraging our office tenants to turn off their lights at night and lower their blinds wherever possible, especially during the migratory season,” she added.
Further, “The first 200 feet of One WTC are encased in glass fins that are non-reflective. The design was chosen because it greatly reduces bird strikes,” stated Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for One WTC. Barowitz continued, stating the bird strikes “mostly occur below 200 feet and are frequently caused by reflective glass.”
The building’s preventative measures contributed to minimal bird fatalities in the almost-300 fatality count. The news outlet stated that less than 30 of the deceased creatures were located at the base of One WTC.
So, while the latest tally highlights a popular urban issue, authorities and conservationists continue to work toward maximum preventative measures to best protect migratory birds.