An eastern meadowlark, recently killed in a collision with a Chicago building. (Courtesy of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors)

Spring migration is still weeks away from reaching its peak in Chicago and already the tiny body bags are piling up, filled with birds killed in collisions with the city’s glass buildings.

McCormick Place Lakeside Center's walls of glass and location on the lakefront are a deadly combination for birds. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Monday’s meeting of the McPier board was dominated by discussion of the mass death of 1,000 birds in a single day, killed after colliding with McCormick Place. Bird conservationists want a solution in place by spring migration.

From a distance, 1229 West Concord in Lincoln Yards looks like every other glass tower in Chicago. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Sterling Bay’s first completed structure at its $6 billion Lincoln Yards riverfront development was constructed with bird-friendly glass. The use of the material is one of several features intended to minimize the sorts of deadly bird collisions Chicago just witnessed in record numbers.

A team at the Field Museum processes birds killed in collisions with McCormick Place during a massive migratory wave Oct. 4-5, 2023. (Daryl Coldren / Field Museum)

While the full tally of dead will never be known, wildlife advocates are certain of one thing: The vast majority of bird losses in the past week were preventable.

Field Museum staff collected 1,000 dead birds Thursday from the grounds of McCormick Place. (Courtesy of Taylor Hains)

Chicago is one of the deadliest cities for migrating birds and Thursday’s “insane abundance of migratory action” led to “insane mortality,” birders said. The remedy is as simple as flipping off a light switch.

A rendering of Carvana’s proposed 14-story tower in Skokie. (Facebook)
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If the embattled online retailer still wants to build its tower in Skokie, the company will have to start the approval process back at square one, village trustees said.

Rush Street has proposed a Rivers Casino as part of the under-construction 78 development on vacant land between the South Loop and Chinatown along the Chicago River. (Provided)

If a casino is coming to the riverfront, publicly accessible open green space should be a priority, as well as considerations for wildlife habitat, environmental advocates say. And the buildings themselves should be held to the highest standards of sustainability and climate resiliency.

One of Carvana's auto vending machines. (Courtesy of Carvana)

In response to concerns about putting a see-through glass tower in the path of migrating birds, Carvana revised its plan to incorporate bird-friendly components. Critics called the proposed mitigations “woefully inadequate.” 

One of Carvana's auto vending machines. (Courtesy of Carvana)

A 140-foot-tall transparent structure that’s brightly illuminated 24/7, located across the street from Harms Woods nature preserve, along a key migratory greenway, is a triple threat to birds, environmentalists say.

The Thompson Center’s glass facade wouldn’t pass muster today under a new law requiring bird-friendly design for state buildings. (WTTW News)

Nearly 600 million birds are killed annually in North America due to collisions with buildings. A new Illinois law mandates bird-friendly design for state buildings.

Since 2003, a group called the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors has made it their mission to collect birds that have been killed or injured after striking buildings and other structures.