Hundreds of Migrating Birds Crash Into NASCAR Hall of Fame with 97 of Them Dying

Ashley Boucher

More than 300 birds crashed into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in North Carolina on Tuesday night, making for an eerie sight in uptown Charlotte.

The birds — identified as chimney swifts, which migrate from the United States to South America in the fall — were caught on video flying into the large building, which opened in May 2010.

The bizarre and somewhat disturbing footage shows the small birds flying into the glass section of the NASCAR building and dropping to the ground.

The Carolina Waterfowl Rescue said on Facebook that of the more than 300 birds admitted, 97 were dead on arrival, nine had to be euthanized, 103 were injured and needed further treatment and an additional 107 were “stunned” from their collision with the building.

Late Tuesday night, the CWR put out a call for volunteers to help feed the birds, which need to be hand-fed because they usually eat while in flight.

“We desperately need help feeding them and will be posting for volunteers tomorrow. They all have to be hand fed. I’m not sure how we will manage but where there is a will there is a way,” the organization said.

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On Wednesday, the organization was able to release some of the birds that had been stunned, and shared a video of the moment of their release on Facebook.

“Our rehab team has been working incredibly hard today. Hand feeding hundreds of birds. We also flight tested over 100 birds today. Some that were just stunned will be cleared for release today,” the organization wrote on Facebook.

The CWR also pointed out that chimney swifts are worth rescuing because they “eat up to 12,000 mosquitoes, termites, flies, and other insects each day,” and their “numbers are declining significantly due to loss of nesting sites.” 

Rescued chimney swift | Carolina Waterfowl Rescue/Facebook
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue/Facebook

According to CNN, about 600 million birds die every year in the United States from flying into skyscrapers or other tall buildings. The outlet’s report was based on research from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that said Dallas, Chicago and Houston are “especially deadly.”

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NASCAR Hall of Fame | Groupuscule/Wikipedia

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The ornithology lab said that artificial light in such buildings distracts and disorients the birds.

If the birds don’t crash into the side of the building, then they “flutter around for hours, eventually becoming exhausted and landing in inhospitable environments,” CNN reported.

But high rise buildings aren’t the only threat to birds in the U.S.

In September, Science journal published a report that said the total number of birds in the United States and Canada have decreased by 29 percent, or nearly 3 billion, since 1970, and that the number of birds migrating has faced a steep decline over the past decade.

While some species have increased in number over that time period, scientists were still alarmed at the “staggering” result of the study.

Researchers suggested that reasons for the massive dip in numbers could be pinned to a loss of nature, including climate change and habitat loss from modern agricultural development, as well as wider use of pesticide.