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Surprising Science

Glass Towers Deadly for Birds

Will there will come a time when putting up an all-glass building is like wearing a fur coat? About 90,000 birds are killed each year by flying into buildings in New York City alone.

What’s the Latest Development?


New York is a major stopover for migratory birds and every year an estimated 90,000 birds are killed by flying into buildings in NYC. Often, they strike the lower levels of glass facades after foraging for food in nearby parks. Some experts say such crashes are second to habitat loss for migrating bird death.

What’s the Big Idea?

“I hope there will come a time when putting up an all-glass building is like wearing a fur coat,” said Glenn Phillips, executive director of NYC Audubon. “Not that no one will do it, but maybe they’ll think twice about it.” The San Francisco Planning Commission adopted bird-safety standards for new buildings in July, and laws are pending in Washington requiring many federal buildings to incorporate bird-friendly designs.

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