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Beautiful New Apple Store Is Killing Birds, Wildlife Groups Say

By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Oct 27, 2017 8:10PM

The gleaming new storefront (Photos by Tyler LaRiviere/Chicagoist)

The glass-box design of Apple's new riverfront store is impressive for humans but wildlife groups say it's a danger for migratory birds that take flight along the Chicago River.

"It is a new threat and a new hazard for the downtown area, in an area that already has many buildings with a lot of glass," Bird Collision Monitor's director Annette Prince told CBS Chicago.

Volunteers with the group scour downtown every morning to find any birds that might have been hurt or injured overnight. Prince says her group is already seeing a lot of problems with the Apple Store. Glass buildings are a problem all throughout downtown, but the Apple Store is especially problematic, because it is along the banks of the river, which is a magnet for migratory birds. The Apple store's trees and grass also attract the birds.

Prince told Fox 32, "[W]hen they see the trees inside they think this is a nice refuge. And they don't see that there's something between them and that tree where they'd like to land inside the building."

Prince said her group is asking Apple to put a film on the building that helps alert birds to the glass's presence. And she'd also like the store to turn off the lights at night, at least during migration season.

Phil Hampel of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation told Fox that his group is also working with Apple: "We wanted to proactively reach out to Apple and help them, should they have a problem, be able to deal with that in a way that's responsible for the environment and responsible for the bird migration."

An Apple spokesman told Fox that they are speaking with local ornithological groups to try to figure out possible solutions.