Tribute in Light 2012

Specks in the Tribute in Light beams are birds © NYC Audubon

Each September 11th, two beams of light project into the sky from lower Manhattan to pay tribute to the lives lost on that day in 2001. These Tribute in Light beams are a moving tribute but may pose problems for migratory birds that can become disoriented and unable to navigate out of the strong beams. NYC Audubon has a team of volunteers on site every year to monitor the beams and, in partnership with the Municipal Art Society and National September 11 Memorial & Museum, we have a protocol in place to shut the lights off for a brief period, which allows the birds to clear out. Last night was a big night for migration and by 10:15 pm there were up to 1,000 birds circling in the lights and we initiated shut down, which lasted for twenty minutes. We needed to extinguish them again at 11:50 pm because of a similar number of birds circling. After that time the numbers dropped and the beams remained on for the rest of the night. Thanks to our volunteers and great partners, the Tribute in Light can shine into the night sky without harming birds in the process.

- John Rowden

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