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Is Chicago’s glassy Apple store a deadly magnet for migratory birds?

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The company says it is investigating the issue and will dim its interior lights as a precaution

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/urbsinhorto1837

While Chicago’s new riverfront Apple store has attracted thousands of curious tourists and locals since opening less than two weeks ago, Sir Norman Foster’s glassy design is also taking a reported toll on migrating birds.

Late last week, volunteer watchdog group Chicago Bird Collision Monitors criticized the store at 401 N. Michigan Avenue for its high level of transparency and bird-attracting interior planters. Apple spokesman Nick Leahy confirmed strikes at the store but not a larger number than expected, says Apple Insider. The company has vowed to further investigate this issue with an ornithological expert.

In the meantime, the downtown store will dim its lights at night in hopes to discourage feathery travelers from attempting to seek refuge inside. The low light setting is expected to extend through the fall migration. Wildlife advocates would like Apple to wrap its glass walls in a film more visible to birds.

Despite rising only two stories above street level, Apple Michigan Avenue features glass that is far less tinted or reflective compared to some of Chicago’s taller skyscrapers.
Harry Carmichael

Chicago already has a “Lights Out” initiative in place for some of its high-rise buildings during peak migratory seasons. Due to its location on the Mississippi Flyway and the lakefront serving as a visual landmark, the Windy City is a popular stop for a number of species.

Before Apple’s new flagship even began taking shape at the southern edge of Pioneer Court, the CBCM told Chicago Tonight that it collects an average of 5,000 dead or injured birds in Chicago’s downtown each year.