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Hundreds of migrating birds die after crashing into New York City’s glass skyscrapers

Hundreds of birds migrating through New York City died after crashing into the city’s glass towers.

Images showed 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, a New York City Audubon volunteer.




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 said.

“It seems that the storm might have brought the birds in lower than they would have otherwise have 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.

“Make it so that they can see it and recognize that it’s a solid barrier that they cannot fly through,” Parkins said.

Jordan Barowitz, a spokesperson for the Durst Organization, co-developer of One World Trade Center, said, “The first 200 feet of One WTC are encased in glass fins that are non-reflective. This design was chosen because it greatly reduces bird strikes which mostly occur below 200 feet and are frequently caused by reflective glass.”

It wasn’t the last flight for all the birds that crashed. Some survived. A total of 77 birds were taken to the Wild Bird Fund’s rehab facility staff members gave the birds food, fluids and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling.




Thirty birds recovered and were released in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.