The Empire State Building Will Turn Off Its Lights for Migrating Birds


If you’re looking to snap an iconic photo of the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building at night between now and October 31, you’re out of luck because it’s peak migration season for birds, and they tend to crash into skyscrapers and plunge to their death when the lights are on, according to DNAInfo. Sad, but true — 90,000 of the suckers die this way every year, so skyscrapers are dimming their lights so as not to interfere with migration.

Contrarily, the city has been assassinating geese all over Prospect Park, much to public dismay (RIP Sticky), yet people in charge of Manhattan skyscrapers are going out of their way to save the avian creatures. What happened to good old-fashioned hunting and natural selection — we’re really screwing with the food-chain, aren’t we?

But getting back to the point at hand — human logic would suggest that the lights would make for better visibility, helping their nighttime travels, but this is not the case because birds are more like moths than humans in this respect. The New York City Audubon started this Light Out NY campaign in 2005, and it’s caught on with many of the city’s biggest and brightest buildings. The birds are better off for it, but we have yet to hear how directionally challenged humans stumbling home at night fare without the Empire State Building as their north star. Hopefully our own species will adjust accordingly.

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