A massive number of migrating birds collided with McCormick Place — a Chicago convention center — this week, resulting in an unprecedented number of bird deaths.
Dave Willard has collected dead and injured birds from around the center during the migration season for about 40 years. In an interview with the Audubon website, Willard said that he and his colleagues collected 964 dead birds and approximately 80 “stunned live ones.”
“It was truly unprecedented,” he said of Thursday’s event.
Hundreds more dead and injured birds were subsequently found around the city.
Before this week’s catastrophe, the largest number of dead birds he had collected was 200.
“Unfortunate weather” combined with “disorienting brightly lit buildings” confused the birds, resulting in the high death and injury numbers.
“You pick up a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and realize, if it hadn’t been for a building in Chicago, it would be spending its winter in the foothills of the Andes,” Willard said. “It’s just a shame that a city can’t be less of an obstacle.”