West Side Building Adapted to Be Safe for Migrating Birds

I'm always encouraged when I hear of instances where humans have learned to share space with wild animals (without putting them in zoos). So I was cheered to learn that a building in New York City that's infamous for the number of migrating birds that slam into it every year has adapted its facade to accomodate them instead.

The Morgan building, a United States Postal Service structure that reaches from West 28th to West 30th Street between Ninth and 10th Avenues, was built with shiny exterior panels that reflected the trees in nearby Chelsea Park. The reflections fooled birds as they flew towards the building -- in one three week period last year, according to reporter Peter Duffy in the September 22 edition of The New York Times, Audubon Society volunteers counted over 300 birds killed or injured from the impacts; from 2002 to 2006, volunteers counted 862 crashes involving 66 different species.

But with this year’s migratory season under way, the carnage at the center has abated after the Postal Service, confronted with the Audubon’s careful accounting of bird deaths, came up with a solution.

Following recommendations from an architectural consultant, the service contracted Surfacecare, a specialty glass restoration company, to place black vinyl film over each of the decorative panels, which are not windows.

The work was completed in July and, according to Pat McGovern, a post office spokeswoman, the project cost $201,000.

“We did it because we want to be a good neighbor to the community and because of the significant amount of birds that were involved," Ms. McGovern said.

Audubon officials and Ann Galloway, a volunteer for the group, visited the building recently and were pleased to discover that no birds had crashed into it so far.

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