High-rise buildings a big risk to birds
The NGT order is silent on the implications of having tall structures near a bird sanctuary. Death by collision with glass is believed to be the foremost cause of death among birds
If height restrictions are in place around airports for airc raft safety, don’t bird sanctuaries need protection from noise and water pollution and high-rise buildings?
According to environment scientists, high-rise buildings near bird sanctuaries are a big risk to the birds. Death caused by collision with glass is believed to be one of the foremost anthropogenic (human-caused) causes of bird deaths.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) order on the Okhla Bird Sanctuary (OBS) does not get into the implications of building high-rises near bird sanctuaries beyond repeating what the petitioner, Amit Kumar, had stated. This has been left presumably to the wisdom of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). One issue here is whether the high-rise buildings will interfere with the navigation of birds flying in and out of the sanctuary. The second issue is whether such structures will lead to the sanctuary becoming less hospitable for the birds - obstructing their view, flight path, and creating distractions because of lights, says Chetan Agarwal, an environment analyst.
There are some bird species within the sanctuary that are perhaps more sensitive than others and prefer peace and quiet, while other species like pigeons and crows are well adapted to cities. Dr Monalisa Sen, a scientist working on environmental issues, says that migratory birds live in forests, meadows or wetlands, and do not understand the concept of glass.
To a migratory bird, glass is an invisible and dangerous obstacle. They see the landscape reflected in windows and mirrored building exteriors and mistake the reflection for shelter. Often, seeing through the glass, the birds spot potted plants or trees inside the building. Where windows meet at the corners, or line up with each other front and back (ie glass walkways, solariums, greenhouses), birds perceive a clear passage and try to fly through to the trees they see on the other side; and suffer injuries, she says.
Birds need an undisturbed habitat: A tall building near a protected zone such as this Okhla Bird Sanctuary can obstruct their flying path and prevent flow of rain water