Green

Letters to the Editor

In the Meadowlands, New Jersey Must Protect Migrating Birds

0ee49eb9d815e7a97681_nj_audubon.jpg
Credits: nj audubon.org
0ee49eb9d815e7a97681_nj_audubon.jpg

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 TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net 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

Montclair

Philip Roth's Childhood Home Still Standing in Newark

May 24, 2018

Newark, NJ—The house at 81 Summit Avenue in Newark's Weequahic neighborhood is otherwise unremarkable expect for a sign attached to its faux flagstone facade noting that the home has been designated a historic site -- the childhood home of celebrated author Philip Roth, who died Tuesday at the age of 85.

There were no crowds outside the home to pay homage to the ...

Giamarese Farms and Farmers Against Hunger Grow Food for Those in Need

May 27, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a hot Friday morning before Memorial Day, volunteers were hard at work planting eggplant, tomatoes, beans and other veggies here in East Brunswick as part of an initiative by the activist group Farmers Against Hunger.  The plot on Fresh Ponds Road was donated by Jim Giamarese, and the labor was provided by corporate volunteers and local farmers.  ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, May 29, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library Auditorium, Montclair

Open Book/ Open Mind: CODE GIRLS with Liza Mundy ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Tue, May 29, 7:00 PM

Studio Playhouse, Upper Montclair

Into the Woods Auditions

Arts & Entertainment

Letter to the Editor: Gum Litter and what YOU can do about it

May 16, 2018

Gum is non-biodegradable, meaning it doesn't’t break down ever….

Today, the unlikely problem surfaces. The average person chews 275 sticks of gum per year. With the amount of people in daily society, it’s no mystery why chewing gum is the second most littered item after cigarette butts.  Did you know that gum is banned in Singapore?

In addition to littering human ...

Montclair Police Blotter: Vandalism to Parked Cars, Mysterious Parking Meter Crash, and More

May 23, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - The following blotter was compiled and released by the Montclair Police Department on May 22, 2018:

Arrest:
05-15-2018 (Orange Road) Mr. Danny Josama, 42yoa from West Orange, was arrested and charged with
DWI.
05-21-2018 (Wellmont Theater) Mr. Marcelo Dasilva, 40yoa from Montclair, was arrested and charged
with Burglary and Criminal Mischief for entering the Wellmont ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

Grow an Abundant Tomato Harvest in a Pot

May 26, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Harvest and enjoy the garden-fresh flavor of tomatoes right outside your kitchen.  Grow them in containers set on your patio, balcony, deck or stairs. You’ll enjoy the convenience of harvesting fresh tomatoes just a few feet away from where you prepare your meals. And your guests will enjoy harvesting fresh tomatoes to add to their salad or sandwich.

Tomatoes ...