Nautilus

Rising Skyscrapers Are Sentencing Hundreds of Millions of Birds to Death a Year

Siegfried Layda/Getty Images

On a chilly day in Toronto, Michael Mesure, executive director of a local bird conservation group, leads me up several flights of stairs in City Hall. We walk down a hallway and there stands a large, white chest—a freezer—with a lid straining to close against its contents. Mesure removes a heavy Rubbermaid bin to reveal dozens of migratory birds of every size and plumage—hermit thrushes, common yellowthroats, white-crowned sparrows. Some look mummified in Saran wrap; others are frozen in plastic bags. There’s at least a hundred inside. “This is barely a sample of the birds we’ve picked up,” says Mesure.

Mesure is the founder of Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) Canada, one of several nonprofit groups drawing

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