“So many birds were falling out of the sky, we didn’t know what was going on,” Stephen Maciejewski, a volunteer at Audubon Pennsylvania, an organization that works to conserve and restore the habitats of wildlife, specifically birds, recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
— Gray Hall (@GrayHall6abc) October 8, 2020
"It was a really catastrophic event. The last time something like this happened was in 1948,” he added.
Maciejewski also told the outlet that he collected 400 birds between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. local time on October 2.
“There were so many, I was picking up five at a time. One guy from building maintenance dumped 75 living and dead birds in front of me as if it were a collection,” Maciejewski told the outlet.
“There were so many birds I ran out of supplies,” Maciejewski added, explaining that he logs each bird’s flight path, time and location of impact.
Maciejewski confirmed there weren’t as many deaths in the five days after the shocking incident, and that he has since collected no more than 32 birds a morning.
It’s believed that the birds likely struck the buildings while flying on their migratory path from places like Canada, Maine and Upstate New York to Central and South America. A big drop in the temperatures may have caused the birds to start flying in large groups, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Many of the birds crashed into glass buildings.
Last year, the US House of Representatives introduced the Bird-Safe Buildings Act of 2019, which requires every public building “of which more than 50% of the facade is substantially altered by the General Services Administration (GDS)” to ensure that “at least 90% of the exposed facade material from ground level to 40 feet shall not be composed of glass or shall be composed of glass” that meets certain “methods of modification.”
“We have to bring people together to make the glass friendlier to birds,” Maciejewski said. “We’re contributing to the extinction of American songbirds.”