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MAS Thanks New York City Audubon for Tribute In Light Partnership


The majestic twin beams of Tribute In Light were on display from dusk Saturday, September 11, to dawn Sunday, September 12. In addition to the wonderful photos we received from viewers in New York and New Jersey, we received some inquiries from viewers who noticed that the lights had been shut off at several points during the night.

Since the first production of Tribute In Light in 2002, MAS has worked closely with the New York City Audubon Society to ensure that the memorial’s powerful beams do not harm birds flying in Tribute’s path.

“MAS has a longstanding agreement with NYC Audubon to ensure that wildlife is protected during the Tribute,” said MAS Senior Advisor Frank Sanchis. “A representative from Audubon is on site during the Tribute at all times. If the Audubon representative determines that there is a significant number of birds circling the lights, we shut down to disperse the birds and allow them to continue on their migratory path.”

According to Sanchis, the combination of a clear sky and new moon attracted more birds than usual to the lights this year.

Dr. John Rowden, citizen science manager of the New York City Audubon Society, praised the responsiveness of the Tribute team: “Through the course of the night, we shut the lights off five times for approximately 20 minutes each time, which allowed the birds to clear out. The Municipal Art Society was very supportive of our goals of minimizing risk to migratory birds.”

Tribute In Light will shine again next year to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, and NYC Audubon will continue to work closely with us. As MAS President Vin Cipolla said, “There’s no more credible partner in protecting our ecosystems than Audubon. I thank them for their vigilance, and I look forward to a long partnership with them.”