Tonight, Jeremy asked,
“I know it might sound strange, but tonight when I was a couple of blocks away it looked like thousands of birds flying in them. Did they add sparkles or something like that?”
As much as we love them, as beautiful and revered as the Tribute in Light are as part of our nation’s 9/11 commemoration rituals… Jeremy brings up an excellent point.
Those are not sparkles, but thousands of migrating birds — lost within the beams of light, blinding their direction off course.
The migration patterns of birds during this time has caused their advocates to call for major skyscrapers to turn off their lights in order to alleviate bird collision deaths during migration. The most famous example is the Chrysler and Empire State Building, have recently agreed to shut off their lights at night until the end of the migration season on November 1st. Yet, it hasn’t stopped the Tribute in Light from being cast every September 11th.
The NYC Audubon society has conducted studies in which their findings indicated that birds fly at lower altitudes at night, causing them to collide into well-lit or glass fronted high buildings.
The Tribute in Light causes another concern as the lights have been found to blind the birds.
According to the group, “September is a peak month for many of the 200 or so species that head south over New York City. The majority of these fly during the night, and under certain conditions they can be placed at extreme risk. Birds can be strongly attracted to artificial lights, perhaps because some species use natural light-the stars, the moon-to navigate. When natural light is absent-during cloudy conditions, for example, or when the moon is new-artificial lights can have an amplified and sometimes deadly effect.”
If anything, it’s a good thing for our fine feathered friends that the tribute is only a night long event.