The Tribute in Light is an iconic sight on September 11 in New York City. The art installation honors those killed in the 2001 attacks and the city’s resolve in the days, months and years that followed.
Every year the lights keep shining from evening to morning. However, the birds may briefly interrupt the tribute.
Volunteers from the New York City Audubon group monitor the rays from 8 pm on September 11 to 6 am on September 12.
Equipped with telescopes, volunteers gather on the roof of a parking garage in lower Manhattan, monitoring whether rays of light are disrupting migration patterns.
In addition to disrupting migration patterns, the organization says its research has found that artificial light can disorient migrating birds at night and even cause them to fly straight into glass windows .
“Birds strike at full speed when they see the habitat or sky reflected either in, or through, glass, such as in a courtyard,” says NYC Audobon. “Many people die on impact.”
Volunteers count the birds trapped in the beam. When they reach the limit of 1,000, the organization requests the lights be turned off for 15 to 20 minutes.
New York City Audubon says organizers of the tribute always honor its requests, which allows the birds to regroup themselves and continue their journey.
In 2022, New York City Audubon requested no lights out at any time. It was a rainy night, which the organization said resulted in low migration activity.
Rain is also forecast in New York City on Monday night, which could again lead to fewer birds migrating to the area.