It’s fall—the days are getting shorter, streetlights are turning on earlier, and birds are heading south! It’s a perfect time to think about the impact of light pollution on bird migration. In THE CITY DARK, Ian heads to Chicago to follow a team that collects, catalogs, and rehabilitates birds that are killed or injured by brightly-lit skyscraper windows.
Last month, the New York Times published an article about the hazards that city skyscrapers pose to bird migration. “New York is a major stopover for migratory birds on the Atlantic flyaway, and an estimated 90,000 birds are killed flying into buildings in New York City each year,” says a representative from New York City Audubon quoted in the article.
Recognizing the hazards posed by light pollution in a city built of glass, the US Green Building Council is set to introduce a bird-safety credit this fall as part of its LEED environmental certification standards. The credit will create awareness about the impact of indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures on bird migratory patterns, and will help reduce the glare and glazing that cause birds to fly into buildings. It will also encourage the use of bird-friendly glass and protective landscaping materials.