The Fruits of Civilization (68-6) Buildings & Birds

Buildings & Birds

If you’re a bird, the skies are no longer safe just because of stinky air. Buildings, especially glass skyscrapers, simply are not recognized as hazards by many birds. The features that create a killer tower include glass reflectivity, sunlight orientation, night lighting, and whether the building has irregular shapes. Each one can engender bird strikes.

Over 1 billion birds a year fly to their doom by smashing into North American buildings; perhaps 2 billion worldwide. Toronto, which is right in the flight path of migratory birds, is the deadliest city for avian fliers: up to 9 million birds die each year from colliding into Toronto towers. New York City only manages to kill 2 million birds a year.

The victims are largely songbirds. Their swan song is swift, though many suffer concussions before crunching into the street. A tiny percentage survive, though few ever recover.