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.
The Chicago organization is joined by chapters in Detroit and Wisconsin in dropping “Audubon” and adopting the more inclusive, collaborative “Alliance.”
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.
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.
As a more complete, and complex, portrait has emerged of John James Audubon, birders and ornithologists have struggled to reconcile their missions with the troubling aspects of his legacy: buying and selling slaves, plagiarism and the exploitation of natural resources.
“There are places you walk where you see sky touching the earth, and you can imagine this as the gateway to the Grand Prairie,” site steward Pat Hayes said of Orland Grassland.
This simple act of monitoring the presence of breeding birds at specified sites across the Chicago region is how the Bird Conservation Network has, over the course of more than 20 years, methodically amassed a data set that would be the envy of any research institution.
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.
Chicago’s bright lights lure birds from their migratory path. With hundreds of thousands of birds passing overhead this weekend, the city needs to dim its glow.