It is not the first time that migratory birds have flew into New York’s skyscrapers, but this year the death toll turned out to be particularly high. Images taken by NYC Audubon volunteer Melissa Breyer show how serious the situation is: dead songbirds are everywhere. More than 200 copies are said to have been picked up. According to Kaitlyn Parkins, the organization’s deputy director of conservation and science, a storm threw a spanner in the works for the songbirds’ normal flying height, causing them to crash into the skyscrapers. “Looks like the storm may have forced the birds to fly lower, or maybe mostly disoriented them,” she says.
Reflective glass and lighting in the buildings, especially in cloudy weather, also cause confusion for the birds, according to experts. Bird protection therefore calls on companies and residents in glass skyscrapers to turn off their lights at night.
Fortunately, not all songbirds died a fateful death in New York, at least 77 would have survived. They are cared for in a reception centre. Meanwhile, NYC Audubon asks passers-by not to ignore the injured birds, but to pick them up and take them downtown in a paper bag.