Hundreds of birds die after slamming into the World Trade Center

© Twitter / Melissa Breyer / Getty

Hundreds of dead birds have been found at the bases of several World Trade Centre towers

– Twitter / Melissa Breyer / Getty

Hundreds of migratory birds have died after slamming into the World Trade Center earlier this week, their bodies ending up on the pavement below.

At least 291 songbirds died after flying into the towers as they became confused by the reflective windows and the light as they flew south between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Volunteer bird collision monitor for the bird conservation group New York City Audubon, Melissa Breyer, tweeted that she picked up 226 dead birds on 14 September. She said “many others” were “swept up, inaccessible, or too mangled to collect”.

On Tuesday morning, Ms Breyer said she found almost 300 dead birds at the bases of One, Three, Four, and Seven World Trade Centers.

“I was totally shocked. It was an overwhelming thing,” she told The New York Post. “I looked around and it was like a nightmare.”

I did this for 65 minutes straight doing one loop around @4WTC and @3NYWTC — most of these before sunrise. Please can we turn off lights during migration??? pic.twitter.com/pCXoJkUXo0

— Melissa Breyer (@MelissaBreyer) September 14, 2021

“Lights can be turned off, windows can be treated. Please do something,” she tweeted, asking for action.

Counting the dead birds on @_WTCOfficial awnings that I couldn’t collect; add another 35, + the 30 who went to @wildbirdfund making my documented total 291 between WTC 1, 3, 4, 7. That number excludes the swept & smashed ones. I understand they continued coming thru the morning.

— Melissa Breyer (@MelissaBreyer) September 15, 2021

Wildlife advocates want the lights in the towers to be turned off at night or decals to be installed to guide birds away from the towers.

The associate director of conservation and science at NYC Audubon, Kaitlyn Parkins, told The New York Post: “They can reduce nighttime lighting to help reduce light cause collision. Or you can treat reflective glass so it looks solid to birds.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey installed decals on the glass of a see-through barrier in Liberty Park in Manhattan after dozens of songbirds crashed into it.

Ms Parkins told the paper that the increase in bird deaths was likely due to “a big pulse in migration” and not the weekend’s light displays in memory of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Four, Three, and Seven World Trade Center are operated by Silverstein Properties.

A spokesperson for the company told The Post: “We care deeply for wild birds and protecting their habitat in the five boroughs. Understanding that artificial night-time lighting, in general, can attract and disorient migrating birds, 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.”

Other operators said they have already taken measures to prevent birds from smashing into their buildings.

One World Trade Center spokesman Jordan Barowitz told the paper: “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.”

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