Towers of Light vs The Birds
James Wagner asks about the flecks in the light beams in this photo he took of yesterday's Tribute in Light 9/11 memorial. Via alex (scroll down): "This is what birders were afraid of: this year's Tribute in Light display coincided with a big migrant flight. Too bad for the birds. Here's a report received from bird advocate Rebekah Creshkoff (a non-birder friend who saw the display thought that there was "glitter" in the light beams; that was birds.)"
I was at the Tribute in Light briefly tonight, from about 10:30 to 11. I didn't see our volunteer Brooke, but I sure hope she or Eileen or Denise had/have a camera. I didn't, but what's going on down there should be documented.Just wait till they fire up those big wind turbines in the Freedom Tower.
Thanks for reblogging this, Tom. It’s too bad, since the lights are one of the better artistic statements to have come out of 9/11 as functional public art, as opposed to all the banal images of heroic firefighters or the politically correct critiques issuing from the art world; it’s a shame they are environmentally compromised. I don’t suppose many will think the problems of a few (thousand) birds outweigh the emotional needs of a nation, at least as a once-a-year thing, but at least the information may reach an audience which I suspect is sympathetic to both positions, and force them to think about it. Interesting how widespread the confusion over the source of the “glitter” was.
I guess my feelings on subjects like this can be found in two 70s truisms that were abandoned in the 80s: "small is beautiful" and "think globally, act locally." If a giant, energy devouring building is destroyed and thousands of lives lost the best response is a dedicated green space and annual candelight vigils, or something else that "walks lightly on the earth." Dick Cheney would sneer at that, but his ilk are killing the planet, so fuck him. Also, the Towers of Light aren't that spectacular. Dallas has such light beams as a permanent fixture of the skyline on one of its downtown buildings (or at least did when I moved in the 90s). They're like a permanent disco opening.
...his ilk are not killing the planet more making sure this planet survives without the likes of 'his ilk', and anyone around at the time.
I was down and around there on Satuday night. There were several versions to the moths that I heard. One person said the city had released the moths, and they were supposed to represent the thousands of souls going to the heavens. Then, when they started plummeting and frying on surfaces of the lights - well - that reminded people of another 9/11 image. I actually heard some gasps and saw a few people holding on to each other with expressions of horror as we watched the dead moths fall onto the lights. I didn't see birds. But I didn't stay around for too long.
The pyramid shaped casino in vegas has a light at its peak that points straight up. It's the idiotic cherry on top of a stupid building.
That moth story is a great example of urban myth making (or just plain rumor) in action. I’d laugh if it weren’t so pathetic. Everyone knows the phrase “like a moth to a flame” but people go around thinking they live in some controlled, sterile environment, totally unaware of the millions of other creatures all around us.
It's okay, I laughed. And to my disbelief the rumor was quickly spreading through the crowd. (It did remind me of a City story though, where there was some unveiling - I can't remember now which - and they couldn't find doves so they used pigeons instead).
that was in JC and they were squab.
thanks bill. "These pigeons were supposed to fly," insisted Guy Catrillo, a chief organizer of the 9/11 Memorial Committee. "But," he added philosophically, "without a doubt, it beats what could have happened to them. They were soup birds. I like the idea that I helped these squab get a second chance.". e-gads.
I am just really grateful someone blogged this because I really thought I was losing my mind. could see the creatures moving in the lights all the way from bklyn and drove to the base with a friend to see thousands and thousands of moths. I have searched newspapers online and off all week and I am kind of shocked there was not one photo or mention of this occurrence anywhere - the site was so stunning that even if they could not get themselves to care about nature you'd think someone would find it unusual enough of an event to print a picture. I did not look up, once at the base, high enough I guess to discern any birds.... it was sad enough seeing the moths sizzling on the lamps and some guy next to me said "isn't it beautiful?" and I said, "actually, I find it kinda apocolyptic." I agree with the other rebeckah - what kind of a tribute is it really to all those people who died, if we kill so many birds in the process? accck -
I guess the display was what they call a "catastrophic success."
Here is Gothamist's take.
I know, that is what I was thinking, thank goodness for digitialmediatree.
Hello? It's a shame you guys are finding out about this phenomenon for the first time. Did you know that hundreds of millions of song birds EVERY year are killed, due to lighting and lighting tall structures? It's called "light pollution", when it's aimed upward. It also does a fine job of obscuring your view of the stars. Several months before the WTT were destroyed, the management voluntarily stopped lighting up the Towers due to the fact that bird carcasses were found at the base of the buildings every morning.
I forgot to mention that their is an organization that provides information about how to help birds by re-thinking our construction of buildings: Fatal Light Awareness, and here is their page on the NYC buildings: