Friday, September 23, 2005

The birds have it made on Broadway

Cheers to NYC for making the nights a little safer for migratory birds.

For years, birds have died by the thousands in our big cities: the bright lights and glass windows confuse them, causing them to get lost or to fly into buildings:

The combination of glass, tall buildings and bright light is extremely dangerous for birds, according to Daniel Klem, an ornithologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. He says that a conservative estimate is that more than 100 million birds die each year from crashing into glass on structures of all types, even houses.

Now, the city's turning down the lights during the peak of the migration:

The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, the Citigroup Center, the Morgan Stanley Building and the World Financial Center are among the high-profile high-rises that have agreed to requests from the city and the Audubon Society to dim or turn off nonessential lighting at midnight.

Thus the city's skyscrapers will defer to nature at least twice a year: by dimming their lights in September and October, during the peak of the fall migratory season, and again in April and May, during the peak of the spring migratory season.


While the Empire State Building's lighting policy to protect migratory birds is decades old, and other buildings have used netting on glass windows so birds do not mistake reflections for sky, this policy will be the first citywide effort to protect migratory birds from crashing into buildings. The voluntary policy is aimed at buildings taller than 40 stories, as well as lower glass buildings that hug the Hudson and East Rivers, which birds use as navigational aides.

Seems like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and all of the other "green" West Coast cities should do the same, don't you think?

1 comment:

FreeThinker said...

Glass buildings are nice for photography!