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WARNING: This article contains images and footage which some readers may find upsetting
A woman collected 261 dead birds surrounding the World Trade Center last Tuesday (14 September).
She's a volunteer for NYC Audubon's Project Safe Flight, which is a charity that helps birds migrate safely through the city.
However, Tuesday morning wasn't a usual occurrence - there were hundreds of birds laying there on the pavement and were said to be heading south on their way to their familiar autumn spots.
I did this for 65 minutes straight doing one loop around @4WTC and @3NYWTC - most of these before sunrise. Please can we turn off lights during migration??? pic.twitter.com/pCXoJkUXo0
- Melissa Breyer (@MelissaBreyer) September 14, 2021
Melissa said: "It was 6.15am when I got there, so the sun hadn't fully risen, but you could still see them: there were these dark little shadowy lumps of bird.
"It was like a scene out of a horror film."
The volunteer says that she usually spots between 25 and 30 bird deaths, so having hundreds was utterly shocking for her.
She uploaded various posts on Twitter and wrote: "Some of the 226 dead birds I picked up this morning while window collision monitoring for @NYCAudubon.
"205 from @3NYWTC and @4WTC alone.
"Many others swept up, inaccessible, or too mangled to collect.
"30 injured to @wildbirdfund.
"If you're in NYC today, be careful where you step."
Melissa and other wildlife campaigners want WTC operators to turn off the lights in the building at night or install decals (transfers or stickers applied to reflective surfaces to stop birds flying into them).
Kaitlyn Parkins, associate director of conservation and science at NYC Audubon told the New York Post: "They can reduce night time lighting to help reduce light cause collision.
"Or you can treat reflective glass so it looks solid to birds."
A spokeswoman for Silverstein Properties, which runs Four, Three and Seven World Trade Center, told the same publication: "We care deeply for wild birds and protecting their habitat in the five boroughs.
"Understanding that artificial night-time lighting in general can attract and disorient migrating birds, we are actively encouraging our office tenants to turn off their lights at night and lower their blinds wherever possible, especially during the migratory season."
Meanwhile a spokesperson for One World Trade Center said: "The first 200 feet of One WTC are encased in glass fins that are non-reflective. This design was chosen because it greatly reduces bird strikes which mostly occur below 200 feet and are frequently caused by reflective glass."
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