Letters to the Editor

In the Meadowlands, New Jersey Must Protect Migrating Birds

Credits: nj

With ongoing construction in the Meadowlands in recent decades, an unanticipated cost has become more and more apparent - an alarming number of bird deaths.

The Meadowlands attracts tens of thousands of birds each year representing more than 200 species, as it offers a diversity of habitats and sits in the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration corridor for many different birds, from raptors to waterfowl to songbirds, every spring and fall.

Bird collisions with buildings are a significant problem.

Sign Up for E-News

That is why New Jersey Audubon and Bergen County Audubon Society are calling for the passage of legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Eustace, A-4795, requiring non-residential buildings and structures constructed or reconstructed in the Meadowlands to use bird-friendly glass or other methods to significantly reduce bird collisions.

The Meadowlands are an important habitat for birds. Between 2004 and 2006, New Jersey Audubon recorded more than 150,000 individuals of 200 bird species in the Meadowlands, including 35 endangered, threatened or species of special concern.

Collision with structures is the cause of hundreds of millions of bird deaths each year in the United States. Structures featuring glass are particularly dangerous because transparent windows and reflective surfaces can easily look like continuing open air, and don’t appear as barriers to birds.

At night, glass buildings can even attract migrating birds that mistake reflections of light for navigational cues normally provided by stars and the moon.

Bright lights at night have been shown to disorient birds, causing them to circle the light source, sometimes for hours, which can result in exhaustion and in many cases, collisions with building windows or the ground.

Mortality rates resulting from collisions with building glass have been found to increase with a variety of factors. One clear concern - the more glass on a building, the greater percentage of bird strikes.

These problems can be amplified under weather conditions that hamper overall visibility, such as fog, or challenge capabilities, such as strong winds.

Birds are especially vulnerable on cloudy days when they must fly lower in the sky, and certain bird species that make long journeys and are unfamiliar with certain areas are more at risk for hitting a building.

New Jersey Audubon is now assessing the magnitude and extent of bird-building collisions in Newark. This spring, we conducted surveys at 12 tall buildings and found more than 250 individuals of 50 species that had collided with buildings in the months of April and May. Of these, more than half were dead and the rest were injured.

We hope to continue our work during the fall migration and help to quantify the magnitude of the problem systematically, identifying specific buildings that may contribute to high mortality rates, documenting factors that may contribute to variation in the number of birds injured and killed and developing strategies to ameliorate these impacts.

The cumulative effects of bird strikes are significant in northern New Jersey. The proposed legislation would be a major step to reducing bird mortality in the Meadowlands, which feature a range of structures, from shining skyscrapers in Jersey City to smaller business buildings in Kearny.

The Meadowlands is likely to experience significant, continued growth. In 2004, the New Jersey Meadowlands Council authored a new master plan to target redevelopment in blighted areas, anticipating a new market value of $5.6 billion and more than 56,000 jobs.

By requiring new buildings to feature designs that will make buildings more visible to birds – such as opaque glass, creating designs on glass and innovative lighting systems – the legislation offers thoughtful protections for migrating birds passing through the Meadowlands.

This law encourages important and ongoing dialogue toward responsible architectural designs that are less harmful to birds. As northern New Jersey continues to develop and urbanize, now is the time to proactively avoid continued impacts to bird populations from building strikes, which only compounds losses from other threats such as habitat loss and climate change.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

East Brunswick's Girl Scouts Work with a Young Woman's Busy Schedule

March 21, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Have you wanted to join a Girl Scout troop, but just don't have the time? Check out this out. Busy teens can be Independent Girl Scouts -- all the programs and awards without the scheduled troop meetings. Teen girls can do badge work, attend events, travel, earn awards or do community service on their own time. (And ...

Murphy’s Puerto Rico Relief Commission Looks to Connect Families to Resources

PERTH AMBOY - Stephanie Márquez-Villafañe, president of the student-based Puerto Rican action group Rutgers Unión Estudiantil Puertorriqueña, offers a sobering assessment of New Jersey’s Puerto Rican student community in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the worst hurricane to hit the U.S. territory in recorded history.

"University students have ...

Middlesex County Young Republicans Host "Road to Victory" Event at the Green Turtle

March 21, 2018

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ -  Middlesex County Young Republican Chairman John Steiner would like to announce the Middlesex County Young Republicans "Road to Victory" Reception, which will take place on March 22 at the Green Turtle in North Brunswick from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

This event will serve as the official launch for the 2018 campaign season for the Middlesex ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 7, 2:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 15, 3:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Jason Alexander: The Broadway Boy

Arts & Entertainment

EBPL Book and Media Sale April 9-14

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—The East Brunswick Friends of Library hos their 44th annual Book and Media Sale in the Centre Court of Brunswick Square Mall (755 State Route 18, East Brunswick) this April 9-15.

The sale runs through the mall's normal hours of operations. Monday, April 9 through Saturday, April 14 (from 10 am to 9:30 pm) and Sunday, April 15 (11 ...

EBPL: Addressing Sexual Violence through Education & Empowerment

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) hosts a special two-part program “Addressing Sexual Violence through Education & Empowerment” on Wednesday, April 4 from 7 to 9 pm.

The first part of the program is the presentation ”Sexual Violence” with Jennifer Kurdyla, MSW, of Middlesex County Office of Health Services and ...

East Brunswick Public Library Hosts “The Jews of Tsarist Russia and Bessarabia Before the Holocaust” Program

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) presents the fifth installment in the series “The Jews of Eastern Europe Before The Holocaust” on April 8 at 2:30 pm.

“The intent of the series is to bring to light the legacy of my Jewish ancestors, prior to their annihilation during the Shoah,” said Dr. Michael G. Kesler, ...

Need a Passport? Save Money by Getting It Before April 2

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—If you are planning to get a new United States passport, you can save $10 by submitting your application at the East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) before Monday, April 2.

The cost of a passport’s execution fee is rising from $25 to $35. The fee increase is mandated by the Department of State for any passport application submitted to ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...