Hundreds of migratory birds died because of collisions with glass skyscrapers in New York

    22 Sep 2021

    Hundreds of migratory birds collided with glass skyscrapers in flight were reported dead in New York last week, Dezeen reports.

    During the day, birds are confused by the sky’s reflection in the glass facades of skyscrapers, and at night they are disoriented by a bright light in the windows.

    On the morning of September 14, volunteer Melissa Breyer collected 226 dead birds under just two skyscrapers – the third and fourth towers of the World Trade Center. She said she saw much more in inaccessible places, as well as body fragments.

    On the same day, the local wild bird rehabilitation center received more than 70 injured birds.

    Ornithologists note that the combination of strong winds and artificial urban lighting led to the mass death of birds. At night, bright light and wind cause disorientation in birds. However, a significant number of birds died in daylight – they were confused by the reflection of the sky in the glass facades of skyscrapers.

    The company that owns the towers of the shopping center assured that it urges tenants to turn off the lights at night and lower the blinds if possible.

    New York is considered one of the most dangerous cities for birds, in particular, because of the glass skyscrapers. Especially many birds die during migrations in autumn and spring. In general, collisions with the windows of multi-story buildings are considered to be the main anthropogenic threat to birds. According to various estimates, approximately 90,000 birds die each year in New York and between 100 million and one billion in the United States.

    In 2019, the New York City Council approved changes to building codes designed to protect birds. The new requirements limit the use of all-glass facades.

    The fritted design of bird-friendly glass at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center allows birds to see the building’s glass and avoid collisions; since a renovation to the building, bird collisions have been reduced by as much as 90%.

    Because of research programs like Audubon Project Safe Flight, experts now understand that up to one billion birds are killed in collisions with glass across the U.S. each year. As the conservation community has come to grasp the gravity of this threat to birds over recent decades, architects and design professionals have responded to the growing call for bird-friendly design.

    Today there are solutions available that make the glass visible to birds, options for bird-friendly construction materials, and many ways to design buildings to minimize their risk of harming birds. The glass facades of modern office buildings are not only dangerous to birds; they can also dramatically increase energy consumption for heating and cooling. As a result, bird-friendly design elements are now often considered an integral part of sustainable design.

    It is estimated that as many as 230,000 birds die each year in New York City because of building collisions. The Council bill requires 90% of the building envelope for the first 75 feet of any new building or any building proposed to undergo significant alterations to be constructed of bird-friendly materials that meet a specified design standard intended to decrease bird strikes.


    The light pollution produced by street lamps, advertising boards, floodlights, and our homes is so harmful that 80% of the world’s population lives in the haze of a perpetual glow in the hours of darkness. You may read more here.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *