They say it happens at the end of monsoon season – the herons, kingfishers, bitterns and every other local bird in the region commits mass suicide. They spiral down, smacking into buildings; self-destructing, as if evil spirits overcome their bodies exact moments before crashing. Some say extreme fog disorients their senses. Some blame brain swelling from drastic altitude changes. Researchers, however, have proved otherwise. There are no spirits, no magic spells, no lack of oxygen. It happens because they’re attracted to lights. The beak-body creatures confuse candles and lanterns in date night hot spots, glass panels and bedroom windows for starlight guides. They flutter around where they shouldn’t be flying. With all the light pollution, they can’t tell the difference between reflection and reality. The trappers know just exactly how to place the lights just right. Shadow puppets in the dark, they hide and wait: entrap the birds in cages, or spear-fish them mid-flight with rods and sticks.
Amanda Gomez is an MFA candidate in poetry at Old Dominion University. Some of her works have been published, or are forthcoming, in the Eunoia Review, the Ekphrastic Review, and the Manchester Review.