NewsMore than a thousand birds died overnight. They all collided with one building

More than a thousand birds died overnight. They all collided with one building

Tragic night in Chicago
Tragic night in Chicago
Images source: © Field Museum, Twitter, Wikimedia Commons | Lauren Nassef

8:37 AM EDT, October 8, 2023

Tragedy in Chicago. In a single night, at least a thousand birds were killed there. They all lost their lives as a result of colliding with the same skyscraper - the McCormick Place convention center. Ornithologists believe the disaster could have been avoided.

At least a thousand birds perished overnight from Wednesday to Thursday (October 4/5) during a massive migration south. Volunteers continue to find bodies scattered within nearly 1.86 miles from McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. The building is largely glazed.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but we have found a huge number of birds, both dead and injured, - said Annette Prince, the director of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, to "The Guardian".

Experts note that many birds may have collided with a building on the disastrous night and sustained serious injuries, but managed to fly some distance before dying. Therefore, the true scale of the fatalities will only be ascertainable after a few days. However, it is already known that this is the most tragic toll of bird collisions in Chicago recorded in 40 years.

Mass bird deaths in a small geographic area typically occur during peak migration periods in spring and fall. Unfavorable weather conditions such as wind, rain, or fog, as well as city lights reflecting off glass surfaces, can hinder birds' orientation in the area.

Every year, as a result of collisions with buildings, up to a billion birds die worldwide. In the USA, the highest light pollution occurs in Chicago, which is why migratory birds are most at risk there.

Turning off building lights at night is one way to reduce the number of deaths during migration. Using stickers on windows, which refract light, can also help reduce tragic incidents.

As reported by "The Guardian", a study conducted in 2021 at McCormick Place found, that turning off half of the lights in large buildings can reduce the number of bird collisions between six to eleven times.

McCormick Place participates in the "Lights Out Chicago" program, in which building administrators voluntarily turn off or dim the lights at night. On a particularly wild night, an important event was taking place in the building, which is why the lights were on.

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