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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus6 min read
The Math Trick Behind MP3s, JPEGs, and Homer Simpson’s Face
Over a decade ago, I was sitting in a college math physics course and my professor spelt out an idea that kind of blew my mind. I think it isn’t a stretch to say that this is one of the most widely applicable mathematical discoveries, with applicatio
Nautilus11 min read
Learning Chess at 40: What I learned trying to keep up with my 4-year-old daughter at the royal game.
My 4-year-old daughter and I were deep into a game of checkers one day about three years ago when her eye drifted to a nearby table. There, a black and white board bristled with far more interesting figures, like horses and castles. “What’s that?” sh
Nautilus9 min read
Can We Revive Empathy in Our Selfish World?: An experiment shows how to rebuild human compassion.
You wake up on a bus, surrounded by all your remaining possessions. A few fellow passengers slump on pale blue seats around you, their heads resting against the windows. You turn and see a father holding his son. Almost everyone is asleep. But one ma