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.”
“Lights can be turned off, windows can be treated. Please do something,” she tweeted, asking for action.
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.”
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.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies