New York City apartment tower labelled ‘egregious bird killing building’

Residents report finding multiple dead birds outside the glass-covered building every morning

Ethan Freedman
Climate Reporter, New York
Monday 17 October 2022 23:03 BST
Birds Are Rapidly Disappearing From the Earth

An apartment building in upper Manhattan has been deemed a disaster zone for migrating birds in the Big Apple.

Circa Central Park’s shiny glass exterior has become a death trap for birds flying through the Big Apple, which crash into the building and are found dead on the sidewalk, according to environmental advocates.

Residents and local environmental groups have expressed concern at the building’s seemingly “disproportionate” impact on local avifauna, reports the New York Post.

“It’s definitely an egregious bird killing building. For how small it is and how new it is, it kills a disproportionate amount of birds from our perspective,” Catherine Quayle, from the non-profit Wild Bird Fund, told the paper.

New York City is home to a stunning array of birdlife, from the migratory warblers that flit through the city’s parks in spring and fall to the mergansers and ducks that dot the harbour and the raptors that perch on towering skyscrapers.

But such a concrete jungle is also a labyrinth of potential hazards for a bird, especially when it comes to large, glass-panelled buildings.

Birds are often not able to tell the difference between glass and other parts of the sky, mistaking reflections for clear air and the surrounding landscape, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Circa Central Park building.
Circa Central Park building. (Google Maps)

As a result, up to 1 billion birds are killed by crashing into buildings every year across the country. In New York City alone, up to 230,000 birds are killed this way every year, according to NYC Audubon.

At Circa Central Park, the building is covered in a gleaming glass façade looking out on the iconic Manhattan park. But locals told the Post that they’ll spot multiple dead birds out front each morning.

Some residents of the building have started putting up decals on their windows, which some people advocate to help the birds differentiate between window and reflection, the Post reports. But many residents told the paper that some people don’t want to put up the decals – and that they may not be working anyway.

A black-and-white warbler, one species of bird that has been rescued from outside a building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side
A black-and-white warbler, one species of bird that has been rescued from outside a building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A special bird-friendly glass could help prevent these kinds of collisions, though it would require a building-wide effort to install, the paper adds.

The Independent has reached out to the building for comment.

This kind of effort has worked in the past, however. New York City’s Javits Center — a massive convention centre near the Hudson River — recently replaced its iconic glass façade with bird-friendly glass, reducing avian collisions by 90 per cent.

New York City is a major hotspot along the Atlantic migratory flyway, where countless birds fly through each spring and fall on their way north and south.

In addition to urban dangers like glass buildings and house cats, many of these species are also endangered by the compounded threat of habitat loss and climate crisis.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in