Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Worst Three Buildings in New York for Bird Strikes

The New York City Audubon Society named the worst three buildings in New York City for bird collisions:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
  • Bellevue Hospital Center
The Met's presence on that list is somewhat surprising since it is not one of the ultra-modern all-glass buildings. My guess is that the Egyptian wing, which has a glass wall jutting into Central Park, is the main source of collisions. I am not as familiar with the other two sites.
Until 2007, the most lethal building by far used to be the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center, a United States Postal Service site that spans from West 28th to West 30th Street between Ninth and 10th Avenues. The building’s 440 decorative reflective panels on the south side mirrored the trees in Chelsea Park, fooling the birds into believing it was a welcoming hospitable habitat....

An architect recommended that black vinyl be placed over each of the panels at the center, and now things are immeasurably improved.

It has not been as easy a problem to remedy with the Met, the Javits Center and Bellevue, because of a combination of aesthetics and technology. Mr. Phillips said they are in discussions with the buildings to reduce bird collision mortality.

But arguably, bird glass hazards in New York City are getting worse, not better. Glass is “in” because it is a common feature of green architecture, which means that more avian-unfriendly structures are popping up. They are particularly a hazard when they are near parks or other areas with foliage....

For example, the new diaphanous glass condominium building designed by Richard Meier in Brookyn’s Grand Army Plaza has raised the concern of the Audubon Society, as The New York Post noted this week.

“We’ve been planning on monitoring that building starting in the spring,” Mr. Phillips said.
Estimates for overall bird mortality from collisions with buildings range from 100 million to 1 billions per year.