The photography of Baltimore-based Lynne Parks depicts migratory birds that have had fatal collisions with buildings. Parks’ photos bring attention to the results of building design that is antithetical to one of nature’s great movements, migration patterns.
Parks volunteers for Lights Out Baltimore, an organization that seeks to raise awareness about the issue of birds crashing into buildings. She explains that birds migrate at night, orienting in part by constellations, and light pollution disorients and attracts them. They are pulled into cities full of imperceptible glass with tragic results.
From Parks’ statement: “The statistics are staggering. As many as a billion birds die each year from building collisions. I deliberately chose to make portraits of the fatalities in order to highlight individual losses and value. They each tell a very specific story since we always log the address where they are found. I also photographed these specific locations to show the deadly factors. Large panes of glass are killers. Owing to the physiology of the avian brain, they either perceive a clear pathway or a reflective surface appears real. Birds are flying toward shelter and food in landscaped greenery. They find themselves in mazes of invisible barriers. We need to carefully assess the placement of trees and shrubs.
I hope that my LOB project inspires new design. It’s a matter of turning lights off, facing them downwards, creating innovative and beautiful bird-friendly design, and being considerate of migration pathways. We can’t prevent every death, but we can mitigate the losses. Birds will always grace our art, myths, and symbols, but I hope they continue in their own right.”
All images © Lynne Parks