Manhattan’s Liberty Park offers stunning views of the World Trade Center complex, and it's styled with wooden benches and lush planters billowing with greenery. However, there's another feature that's proving to be controversial because what it is doing to birds.
A glass railing that is proving to be deadly for winged creatures.
“On average, each time I walk around it, there is another bird or two birds there," said bird advocate Calista McRae.
Along with her friend, McRae has visited Liberty Park every day since October, collecting injured and dead birds. She estimates in the last two weeks they’ve found nearly 30 in the park or on the sidewalk below.
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"We’re only getting a snap shot because no one is stand there every minute of the morning. Who knows how many. They might bounce off fly in the trees and pass form head trauma later," McRae said.
And it's a glass railing in the World Trade Center complex that's creating a problem for birds that aren’t native to New York. That's because they're attracted to the city’s lights while migrating.
At daybreak, they look for food. And when they fly from one set of trees to another, they can hit the glass.
Not all the birds are dying. Some are “stunned," but still alive. The executive director of NYC Audubon says the Port Authority is not alone in needing a fix, as reflective glass on the city's many skyscrapers are also problematic for birds.
“Really the problem is huge. About a billion birds in North America a year probably — we estimate 200-300 thousand in New York City — are killed," said Kathryn Heintz of NYC Audubon.
Advocates say the clear glass that is currently installed should be replaced with tinted glass, or if the clear glass is kept, some etching should be added in order to help the birds see that something is there. Other parts of the park have are adorned with metal gate — which is another option bird lovers are OK with.
But until there is a change, McRae says she'll be there to rescue the survivors and care for the dead.
“It doesn’t have to be a problem," she said.