Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dead Birds of the Met

A few weeks ago I waxed poetic about the virtues of the Bird Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unfortunately today I was reminded of the opposite side of that coin. Namely, the highly reflective windows of the Met continue to be a death sentence for the Parks birds. Here's a brief tale of why I know this and what needs to be done to remedy the issue. A few weeks ago I located a NSWO in the stand of pines at the NW corner of the Met. NSWO He was so well hidden that I didnt report it to all but the Central Park Birds Flickr gallery. When I returned to check for it today, I found this freshly decapitated field mouse. Dead Mouse After methodically scanning each and every pine cone I could not relocate it there so I widened my search. Looking over at the corner of the Met, I got a sickening feeling. Dead NWSO Not two feet from the highly reflective plate glass window was the still soft body of the Saw-whet Owl. In the glass I could see the outline of where it had collided. WindowStrike As I picked it up I noticed the eyes were still wide open and there was blood coming from around its beak. All classic collision signs. It even still seemed to be in mid-wing beat. Dead NSWO 2 Dead NSWO 3 I called Ranger Rob and turned the bird over to Ranger Eric who will then forward the bird on to the NYSDEC for further analysis. It would be great if the NYSDEC can turn the heat up on the Met to reach out to the Audubon Society and myself to do a full audit of their glass and devise a simple, low cost solution to the problem such as decals, grids or screens. There's no reason the Met cant both preserve the beauty within and outside of their walls. As a final note, there was plenty more evidence that lots of birds are hitting that window. There are a few dead birds in the grate directly underneath the window and lots of outlines of collisions on the window itself.


Anonymous said...

This is so tragic. What a waste. A grid or screen should work fine for the Met without compromising their architectural "aesthetic." How can an art institution tolerate this by doing nothing, knowing they are playing a part in the death so much natural beauty? Someone on staff must be disposing of these poor birds. I hope the Audubon Society will get involved. An article in the NY Times, some negative publicity, would help here. Thank you for your efforts.

Out Walking the Dog said...

Terribly sad. An excellent post - I hope the Museum pays attention & that you'll keep us informed.