By SCOTT FALLON
Posted: Feb. 18, 2017 8:00 am Updated: Feb. 18, 2017 11:54 am
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — When the owners of American Dream unveiled their latest renderings of the Meadowlands mall and entertainment complex in December, some saw the new glass facade as a significant upgrade from the much reviled boxy exterior.
Don Torino, however, saw only death.
The president of the Bergen Audubon Society feared the glass exterior could be deadly to the barn swallows, marsh wrens and dozens of other bird species that migrate through the Meadowlands each year.
Birds slam into buildings at alarming rates. Studies by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimate that buildings with reflective glass kill 303 million birds each year, ranking second only to cats in bird kills. Birds can’t see reflective glass well, mistaking it for clear air space. Like moths, they are also attracted to bright lights at night when they migrate and often cannot sense that those lights are part of a larger structure.
“It’s pretty simple: If you put a glassy building in a place where birds migrate, like the Meadowlands, the likelihood of a bird hitting it is high,” Susan Elbin, director of conservation and science for New York City Audubon, told The Record (https://bit.ly/2m8fdi6).