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No birds were (physically) harmed in the making of these dramatic videos.
September 17, 2010 11:45 AM   Subscribe

An estimated 10,000 migratory birds whose flight path took them through Manhattan earlier this month became (temporarily) disoriented and trapped in the 88-searchlight glare of the 9/11 Tribute in Light memorial.
posted by oinopaponton (45 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy metaphors, Batman.
posted by dersins at 11:49 AM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


OMG That woman is just standing there texting at ground zero - HAS SHE NO SHAME? Hallowed ground! Hallowed ground!

Also those birds better not shit on it.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on September 17, 2010 [14 favorites]


At least they were American species.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:53 AM on September 17, 2010


At least they were American species.

N'ah man, migratory - clearly some Canada geese hopped over the border.
posted by djgh at 11:54 AM on September 17, 2010


Muslim terror-birds AMIRITE?

Note: this claim is likely being made - in all seriousness - at this very moment elsewhere. I weep for my poor, confused countrymen ... and our disoriented avian population. But mostly for the birds.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:55 AM on September 17, 2010


It's amazing birds figured out how to fly.
posted by smackfu at 11:55 AM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


N'ah man, migratory - clearly some Canada geese hopped over the border.

You joke, but the Canada geese did almost take down a jetliner above New York. Just saying.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:56 AM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


As in: they did take it down. Carry on.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:57 AM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


N'ah man, migratory - clearly some Canada geese hopped over the border.

"Volunteers from New York Audubon identified American Redstarts and Yellow Warblers. Wood Thrushes, Bicknell’s Thrushes, Baltimore Orioles and various species of Tanager may also have been trapped."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:58 AM on September 17, 2010


Those are the souls of our fallen heroes shitting on Ground Zero.

That's what my t-shirt will say.
posted by swift at 12:02 PM on September 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Tanagers! Those bastards are always on my lawn!

wait
posted by echo target at 12:03 PM on September 17, 2010 [24 favorites]


Christ.

We were at a baseball game a few years ago, a night game. There was a bird fluttering around in the outfield, clearly distressed, and clearly trying to "escape" the lights. We had binoculars with us (of course), and tentatively identified the bird as an ashy storm petrel, which is normally a species that doesn't come to the mainland.

This is a radar image of migrating birds. The next time you're outside at night, in the spring or fall, look up, and think about all those warblers (and geese and ducks and finches and and and) flying thousands of feet up, across thousands of miles.
posted by rtha at 12:06 PM on September 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yes, but at least the tourists buy theater tickets.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:07 PM on September 17, 2010


It really made for a cool sparkle effect where the bright lights lit up the undersides of the birds. Like dust in a sunbeam.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:09 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those birds were blinded by the glare of freedom.
posted by rocket88 at 12:10 PM on September 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


i'm not all gung ho america or anything but i LOVE the light towers. i don't care how much electricity it takes to run them. they are perfect.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:10 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


flight path of the apocalypse.........abyss of birds

Someone either needs a dopeslap or a new French to English Dictionary.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:21 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Them birds was communiss anyway.
posted by Mister_A at 12:21 PM on September 17, 2010


Why don't we just finally dredge all the oceans and put up, I don't know, poison? into the skies and finally be just done with all of this "wildlife" shit?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:27 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I too was migrating artound Chinatown and So Ho and Little Italy. Saw the twin lights but had no difficulty in finding decent place to eat. The birds are tourists and not used to the City.
posted by Postroad at 12:30 PM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


DON'T CROSS THE STREAMS!
posted by doublehappy at 12:35 PM on September 17, 2010


We hated their freedom so much that we put up walls of light.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:37 PM on September 17, 2010


I bet them Islams regret flying the planes into the towers now. Didn't they know it's America, and they'll just build new ones from freedom lasers?
posted by Biru at 12:44 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stupid birds. Can't they just fly horizontally to the ground and scape the light? I hate less evolved beings.
posted by dov3 at 12:44 PM on September 17, 2010


i don't care how much electricity it takes to run them. they are perfect.

That sentiment is just a shining example of the American Spirit (tm).
posted by splice at 12:56 PM on September 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


See this is why I love squirrels.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:17 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow This is a truly incredible thing to see, on so many levels.

Also: Abyss of Birds would make a great band name.
posted by salishsea at 1:26 PM on September 17, 2010


The attempt at "art" in that disoriented link made me throwup in my mouth a little. What exactly does the palm tree have to do with...anything?

way more surreal than the palm tree was how the woman texting in the window reminded me of a scene from 25th Hour. I almost expected Philip Seymour Hoffman to walk in frame and start whining about something or other.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:32 PM on September 17, 2010


“It’s only happened once before"....

Birds have only been confused by lights once before?
posted by Grizzlepaws at 1:33 PM on September 17, 2010


What exactly does the palm tree have to do with...anything?

The video was taken from an intentionally-tacky Water Taxi Beach. No art was attempted, don't worry.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:39 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


9/11 NEVAR EGRET
posted by benzenedream at 1:51 PM on September 17, 2010 [29 favorites]


All of the species named by the Audobon Society eat insects (though not all prefer to hunt in flight). Searchlights have been shining consistently above some cities for decades without "trapping" migratory birds. Light attracts insects. Those birds were snacking on the insects attracted to the stationary column of light. When the lights were turned off they were bummed.

I'm sticking with that.
posted by vapidave at 2:04 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently the "laser" shining out of the Luxor pyramid attracts insects which are then preyed upon by thousands of bats, who then shit on it.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on September 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


Bird aren't the only animals confused and disoriented by the after-effects of 9/11.
posted by GuyZero at 2:23 PM on September 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


Wait until they start bumping into the minarets.
posted by goethean at 3:00 PM on September 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I've noticed this in previous years while I've been photographing the lights, but was never sure if it was birds or bats or what. Guess this explains wy it sure seemed like a lot more than usual this year.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:23 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


“It’s only happened once before"....

Birds have only been confused by lights once before?



I used to walk by the base of the WTC towers every morning on my way to to work. First thing in the morning, there were ALWAYS dead birds on the ground. Sometimes, a lot of them. I assumed that the WTC grounds crew cleaned them up before most people arrived for work.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:43 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


The descendants of those dead birds probably think of the airliners who took the buildings out as gods.
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I looks like something out of FF7.
posted by Decimask at 4:18 PM on September 17, 2010


I used to walk by the base of the WTC towers every morning on my way to to work. First thing in the morning, there were ALWAYS dead birds on the ground. Sometimes, a lot of them. I assumed that the WTC grounds crew cleaned them up before most people arrived for work.

This is not uncommon for big cities with big bright buildings. I'm a volunteer for Chicago's bird collision monitor group that scours downtown for stunned, dead, or injured birds every morning of spring and fall migration. We find over 100 different species of songbirds, woodpeckers, waterbirds, and the occasional owl or raptor. In addition to being confused by lights, birds will often fly into the glass of lobbies with big leafy plants/trees inside--looks like a great place to come down and rest, after all. Also, if you've ever noticed the city seems particularly dark late at night in spring/fall, this is why.
posted by gueneverey at 6:02 PM on September 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm heading over to that flock of pigeons in the park with the biggest flashlight I can find.
posted by orme at 6:04 PM on September 17, 2010


That's an awesome project gueneverey! Light pollution is a big problem for several species. It's pretty sad that people would rather have shiny, shiny lights than sea turtles and migratory birds.
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:13 PM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


The light towers are pretty, they look cool, no getting around that. However they are light pollution, and should be turned off along with many of the other lights in the city.
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:29 PM on September 17, 2010


This video gives me a new insight into a UFO sighting I had in Los Angeles some years ago. I couldn't identify what I saw, but the gal I was with, who had previously lived in LA, kept yelling "those are birds!"
posted by Tube at 9:59 PM on September 17, 2010


I'm a volunteer for Chicago's bird collision monitor group that scours downtown for stunned, dead, or injured birds every morning of spring and fall migration.

You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.
posted by menschlich at 5:58 AM on September 22, 2010


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