New York City’s dead bird problem has reached new heights.
Hundreds of migratory birds fatally crashed into World Trade Center towers earlier this week — leaving a graveyard of winged carcasses on the sidewalks below, sources said Wednesday.
At least 291 songbirds — including black-and-white warblers, American redstarts and ovenbirds — became disoriented by lights and reflective glass while flying south on Monday night or Tuesday morning, said Melissa Breyer, a volunteer bird collision monitor for bird conservation group New York City Audubon.
“I was totally shocked. It was an overwhelming thing,” she told The Post. “I looked around and it was like a nightmare.”
Breyer snapped a photo of the carnage, which occurred during a heavy migration period and a mild storm, and posted the heartbreaking images on Twitter.
“Counting the dead birds on @_WTCOfficial awnings that I couldn’t collect; add another 35, + the 30 who went to @wildbirdfundmaking my documented total 291,” she tweeted. “That number excludes the swept & smashed ones.”
“Lights can be turned off, windows can be treated. Please do something,” she pleaded.
She and other wildlife advocates want WTC operators to turn off lights at night or install decals to help keep the city’s feathered friends alive.
“They can reduce night time lighting to help reduce light cause collision,” said Kaitlyn Parkins, associate director of conservation and science at NYC Audubon.“Or you can treat reflective glass so it looks solid to birds.”
The feathered fatalities come after dozens of songbirds crashed into a see-through barrier nearby in Manhattan’s Liberty Park last spring, prompting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to install bird-friendly decals on the glass.
The bird deaths this week were not likely linked to the buildings’ Sept. 11 memorial light displays over the weekend — but rather a “a big pulse in migration” on Monday, Parkins said.
A rep for Four, Three and Seven World Trade Center said operators are taking steps to protect winged wildlife.
“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,” said a spokeswoman for Silverstein Properties, which runs the towers.
Other WTC tower operators said they’d already installed special glass to keep birds from dying.
“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,” said Jordan Barowitz, spokesman for One WTC, where less than 30 of the birds were found.