One morning, after a stormy night, I walked the streets of the Financial District in NYC to look for dead birds, it was spring 2018 and I had started this project about bird collision a year before. That morning in two hours I found eight dead migratory birds, I had to stop when I found a vireo that was alive, and I had to bring it to a save place. I’m sure if I would have kept going the count would have been much higher.
While working on this project in spring 2019 I saw a warbler on the ground that clearly had just hit a window, struggling and trying to fly away. I picked it up thinking to bring it to the Wild Bird Fund, but unfortunately it died in my hands few minutes later. It was devastating to feel this tiny creature, that has the strength to migrate for thousands of miles, stop moving in my hands .
Located in several migratory routes NYC with its tall and glassy building pose a serious threat to over 100 species of migratory birds. Two are the major real threats, Light and Windows.
Lights disorient birds at night and attract them changing their behavior. Some keep flying till daylight trapped in a light vortex causing real exhaustion. I found at least two alive exhausted birds during my scouting.
Birds don’t see glasses and during migration to seek refuge the birds sometimes they hit them. Birds can be attracted by plants inside the windows, or the window itself can reflect the trees that surround it.
Estimate between 365 and 988 million birds are killed in collisions with building each year, just in the US. To know more about this issue go to Project Sage Flight by NYC Audubon.