Tribute of Light and NYC Skyscrapers Pose a Threat to Migrating Birds

by , 01/07/12
filed under: News
Tribute of Light, New York City Audubon, World Trade Center, migration, New York City birds

Last year, the Tribute of Light symbolically commemorated the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, but those same celestial beams caused flocks of migrating birds to become severely disoriented. Over 10,000 birds were drawn to the beams of light, where they became confused and trapped. The birds were finally able to continue their journey when the beams were shut off for twenty minute intervals. Each year, city lights, skyscrapers, and urban hustle and bustle endanger tens of thousands of migrating birds — but can anything be done to remedy the problem?

Tribute of Light, New York City Audubon, World Trade Center, migration, New York City birds

In New York, the birds appeared as glittering flecks within the two soaring beams that eminated from the original World Trade Center sites. The New York City Audubon discovered the flocks, and negotiated with managment to turn the lights off, so that they may continue their migration. When the birds became entrapped within the beams, they flew around endlessly in a panic. The Audubon feared that the birds would expend too much energy while caught in the beams, rendering them too weak to complete their migration to warmer climates.

The Audubon estimates that over 90,000 birds die each year when becoming disoriented by city sites and sounds on their paths to migration. To counteract this risk, many skyscraper owners have agreed to dim or switch off lights during peak migration months.

When the Tribute of Light is illuminated, spectators needn’t be alarmed when they sporadically switch off — the symbol to those have fallen also takes breaks to protect wild life.

Via Daily Mail

Images © Monika Szyma