10,000 Birds Trapped In The World Trade Center Light Beams

This is a view of the 9/11 memorial lights. There's something floating in them, gliding slowly with an eerie glow, giving them the look of unearthly portals to another dimension. Spooky, but it has a natural explanation. Updated with video.

Robert Bejarano took the picture and video above.

They were thousands of confused birds, trapped into the beams, confused by the intense light while trying to go over New York City en route to warmer climates. The birds see the intense light and got to it, getting disoriented by the infinite beams.

Image of the lights from afar, by Timothy Schubert.

According to John Rowden, citizen science director at the Audubon Society's New York chapter, "it has only happened once before. It's a confluence of circumstances that come together to cause this. Some of it has to do with meteorological conditions, and some with the phase of the moon."

About 10,000 birds were estimated to enter the beams, wasting their time and energy in their migratory trip. From the ground, people were surprised and confused by the display. From the distance, nobody could tell what the swarm of glowing points were. On the ground, ornithology experts recorded the bird voices as they called in the middle of the night.

To liberate the birds, the NYC authorities had to turn off the beams five times over the night. By dawn on September 12, all the birds were gone, on their way to their winter promised land. [Flickr and Wired]

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