Migratory Birds

Migratory Birds


Leann Beard



Living in Brooklyn, I have enjoyed getting to know the migratory birds that visit us each year, from the piping plovers of the Rockaways to the colorful warblers that visit The Vale to the little birds we only see in the wintertime, like the dark-eyed juncos in my courtyard. I had no idea a city could be host to so much wildlife.

Unfortunately, these birds have a very difficult time migrating through New York City. Birds typically migrate at night and while traveling at high speeds, they often collide with the glass windows of our many buildings and skyscrapers. The sunrise in New York City often reveals a night of carnage, with dozens of concussed or dead birds littering the sidewalks of all five boroughs.

Alongside the global decline of migratory birds and the particular situation of New York City, where building code dictates only new buildings need to have bird-friendly building and window design, the omnipresence of New York Police Department continues, in the subways, on street corners, and in helicopters in the sky.

My quilt square aims to highlight this bleak dichotomy, and contrast what is being lost with what is being protected. This comparison is not random; one of the many downfalls of living in a militarized police state are the choices made along the way of what we will not have. We will not have clean air or water; we will not have free, high-quality public transit; we will not have as many migratory birds visit as we did last year; and so on and so forth.

I hope that one day, when the sun rises over Manhattan on a beautiful spring day, the birds who passed through the night will not be underfoot but somewhere overhead, far, far, away.

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Art and Design | Urban Studies and Planning

Migratory Birds