Animal Planet is reporting that the two bright columns of light shone at Ground Zero on September 11 (which have been shown every year since 2002) had a damaging effect on birds in the midst of their fall migration, as more than 10,000 birds flew in the light and “got trapped,” unable to fly away. The New York City Audubon was monitoring the situation and whenever they noted a “gathering of helpless birds,” they would ask the Municipal Art Society to turn off the beams.
“There were huge numbers of birds flying through and large numbers did have difficulty navigating out of the beams,” John Rowden of the Audubon said. “Through the course of the night we shut the lights off five times for approximately 20 minutes each time, which allowed the birds to clear out (and then new birds moving through would accumulate). The Municipal Arts Society were very supportive of our goals of minimizing risk to migratory birds”
According to Animal Planet, the migrating birds were in danger of “depleting crucial fat stores by flying endlessly in the light beams.” The last time this was an issue (i.e. the last time weather patterns had large number of birds traveling through the city on 9/11) was in 2004.