CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Three-hundred birds struck the NASCAR Hall of Fame building in uptown Charlotte Tuesday night, leaving many of the birds dead or seriously hurt.
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue says the incident happened around 11 p.m. The rescue’s rehab team sprung into action to care for the birds but they say more help is needed.
A viewer posted a video on Facebook, saying the birds continued to fly into the building, “killing themselves.”
“Waking up and killing themselves, from the ground…” Holl Belle posted. “That’s a lot of birds,” Helle said, as video showed hundreds of birds scattered across the ground.
Warning: Video below may be disturbing for some
Another woman in the area said the birds had been flying into the building for about an hour. “I feel like this is like the end of the world right now,” the woman said.
About a third of the 310 birds were killed, 9 had to be euthanized and 100 are severely injured with broken wings or other fractures, rescue officials say. The final third of birds, about 100, appeared “stunned” and will hopefully be released in a few days.
The birds involved are chimney swifts and require hand feeding.
“It's an expensive endeavor but these birds are an incredible contributor to our eco system and eat hundreds of mosquitos a day,” the rescue group says.
“We desperately need help feeding them and will be posting for volunteers tomorrow. They all have to be hand fed,” Carolina Waterfowl posted on Facebook. “I’m not sure how we will manage but where there is a will there is a way. Tonight we just need some sleep.”
“Help!! We just got in 300 birds. Donations needed,” the group posted.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame released the following statement regarding the incident:
"Last night we learned that a large number of birds had flown into the glass exterior of our building. We are extremely grateful to Charlotte City Services, the Animal Control division of CMPD and Carolina Waterfowl Rescue for their prompt response and for handling the situation with great care and compassion. We are saddened by this very unusual and unfortunate event, and are very appreciative of the professionalism and response of our City partners who assisted last night. Animal Control has confirmed there are not any health issues that might affect the public, our guests or employees.
“We welcome the opportunity to meet with representatives from The Audubon Society and learn what may be the root cause of this regrettable incident. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza is a public space that is frequented well into the night, and evening events are a critical component of the NASCAR Hall’s success. Finding a balance between operations and safety is our goal. After learning more, we are willing to evaluate potential adjustments that we hope would mitigate future occurrences. Following the conclusion of a scheduled event at the Hall tonight, we will reduce lighting to a minimal level. Continued dialogue to address concerns regarding this matter is important to us.”
Why do birds fly into windows and what can be done to prevent it?
Carolina Waterfowl shared an article by All About Birds, which gives some insight into why birds fly into windows. Through a bird’s eyes, a window can appear to be an inviting place.
“For birds, glass windows are worse than invisible. By reflecting foliage or sky, they look like inviting places to fly into. And because the sheer number of windows is so great, their toll on birds is huge,” All About Birds wrote.
“It’s a very strange situation its something we see a lot in smaller groups of birds but not necessarily this big.”
“It just so happened that the head of the group flew into the window and they all follow after that,” says Bayleigh MacHaffey with Caorlina WaterFowl.
“It wasn’t just the window, they were down in the nook, hitting this side of the wall, that side of the wall," says MacHaffey.
“A third of the ones we got in last night were not hurt, just stunned. So in a day or two well flight test them, them do have to have perfect flight in order to be released back,” says MacHaffey.
MacHaffey says the challenge now is getting the birds to eat while their being rehabbed in captivity. Out in the wild, they can eat 12,000 mosquitos a day.
“They need to be able to maneuver around and catch bugs.”
Animal control says foul play is not being suspected.