As migration is in full swing and most everyone I know in the US has thoughts of what happened on September 11, 2001 on their minds today, I can’t help but think about the 2010 memorial. For people who may not be familiar with this story, in 2010, after a week of lousy weather for migration, the winds were favorable on September 11 and as the lights for the memorial were lit, literally thousands of birds that migrate at night and use the stars for navigation were caught in the beams. Here’s a sample of the video:
The video and images found around the Internet are hypnotic. I always wondered what the skies would look like if we could see the thousands of warblers, vireos, thrushes and other species passing overhead on night migration and this gives us a glimpse of that.
What’s hopeful about this situation is that Audubon’s New York City Chapter was able to step in with organizers and they managed to turn off the memorial lights for a 15 minutes, encouraging the flocks of birds to move on. Otherwise, the birds would have circled the lights all night and lose valuable fat stores needed to continue the marathon south.
Apparently, the weather today could pose could migratory conditions for birds and a similar situation could happen. Hopefully, Audubon will be on hand again and if we get a crazy glimpse of night migration caught in the lights this year, the lights can be turned off for a few minutes, giving birds a chance to move on.