Flight, Interrupted

When Glass Towers
Become Bird Killers

If you never liked modern architecture, and the shiny, glass buildings that have been popping up all over lately, we’re about to add a killer argument to your cause: they’re also killing birds. Not just a few of them; some 100 million to one billion a year, only in North America, according to estimates.
Now a global effort by architects, ornithologists, environmentalists and bird watchers is trying to find ways around it, before our own bird-dependent species begin to suffer another consequence of our expansive lifestyle. Like few other threats, this one can, indeed, cause our extinction.
If you live in a big city like New York, you’re probably facing at least one such tall skyscraper right at this moment. There are many reasons why they’ve become so ubiquitous, not the least of them, because they are weather-adaptable, allowing optimum light exposure and saving lots of energy consumption.
Due to marvels of contemporary construction, they can also be built relatively fast, and may serve to both housing and office space, often, combining the two. It’s a devilish irony then that, after finding lighter and more environmentally-friendly materials, builders ran into such a disheartening problem.
Going back to the Big Apple, construction of big glass towers has reached a feverish pitch, and one group of buildings stand above all others, for what they mean to the city: the ones that are rising at Ground Zero, some already receiving their first tenants, and the tallest of them all, World Trade Center 1, slated to be completed in a year.
Like the doomed Twin Towers they’re now, at least physically, replacing, Continue reading

Of Birds & Beams

Migratory Birds Get Lost
Within 9/11 Twin Beams

From a distance, it looked like silver confetti. Or shredded paper from a ticker tape parade. But it turned out to be 10,000 trapped birds that momentarily had lost their sense of direction. The “Tribute of Light,” those two beams of light that are lit every Continue reading