New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Birds Sing at Night

Have you ever been to a place where on a moonless night it is so black that you can not see your own hand? Perhaps you live in such a place. But I can assure you - you will not find that here.
Have you ever been to a place where you can read a magazine virtually anywhere at any time at night unaided? Welcome to New York City where the difference between day and night is blurry enough to confuse birds who sing at night and fly to exhaustion and some cases death. An estimated 100 million birds die annually hitting various structures. New York City makes a sizable contribution. Campaigns have been initiated to reduce building lighting at night in urban areas - saving both energy and birds.
In cities like New York, Chicago and Las Vegas where there is tremendous man made light at night, circadian rhythms and all manner of habits of humans and other fauna are disrupted. I have not made any major study of this, but recently I have been using a black out shade in my bedroom and have found improved sleeping habits.
In spite of this existing ambient light level at night, we still occasionally run across night time movie sets where areas are lit at levels like that of a sports stadium. In October, 2006, local filming for the film I Am Legend took place in Washington Square Park over a two week period of time. This became a nightly social event and afforded some spectacular photo opportunities. I got a series of very atmospheric and dramatic shots - fog, cars in flames, burnt human bodies - see my postings and photos here and here.
A few nights ago I became aware of spectacular lighting of the Village prewar building at One Fifth Avenue from several blocks away. The height of the building with art deco elements being lit from directly below created some very unusual harsh shadowing reminiscent of the flashlight under the chin monster effects.
'Twas enough light to make birds sing at night and wake up the dead. But I'm sure the residents of One Fifth Avenue, as inured as New Yorkers are, slept fine :)

6 comments:

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Jarart said...

Very interesting post, I had never thought about how the lights might confuse birds.

ChickenUnderwear said...

They just build a tall class building near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I walk by all the time. There are often dead birds on the ground near the building. It is not that birds are confused by the light. They also don't see glass building.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F02EFD71730F930A1575AC0A9639C8B63

Anonymous said...

Fab as always ,what a brillant picture ,never thought about the effects at night to birds in New York it must b like 24 daylight to them
Thank you for the excellent pictures
and the brillant information

Best Wishes
Slain Leat
Lupo Solitario

Katie cat said...

Cool facts, and a little poetic, I like it!