Wildlife specialists offer explanation after hundreds of birds slam into NASCAR Hall of Fame building overnight


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hundreds of birds that flew into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, injuring themselves, are now in the care of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.

Late Tuesday night, a flock of more than 300 chimney swifts slammed into the building.  

‘It’s definitely creepy. It is a lot of glass though,” one visitor told FOX 46.

CMPD Animal Care and Control responded to the call and Carolina waterfowl volunteers arrived shortly thereafter. 

“They can’t see the windows. They can’t see the buildings. Especially if the lights are on. They get confused. And that’s how they end up hitting it. Especially chimney swifts. They fly in like big, big, big flocks and they follow a leader. So if one of them starts flying toward that window, they will all go,” said Maria Brenes with Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. 

Unfortunately, almost 100 chimney swifts died. More than 100 are injured, and 100 others seem to be stunned. While chimney swifts travel in big flocks, experts are still considering this a rare event.

“Mecklenburg Audobon volunteers have monitored uptown Charlotte buildings for quite a few years of migration and they’ve only found one chimney swift ever. The other thing that makes this super weird is that they should have all been in bed by then,” said Kim Brand, who works with the organization. 


Chimney swifts usually migrate in the day time and find hollow logs or chimneys to rest in at night. This weird event is leading to some superstitious speculation.

“I wouldn’t say it’s not an omen. I would look into it or don’t let any black cats cross your path or something,” another Charlotte neighbor said. 

The NASCAR Hall of Fame issued a statement Wednesday evening, saying thanking the City, Animal Control and Carolina Waterfowl Rescue for their quick response to the situation. 

“We are saddened by this very unusual and unfortunate event, and are very appreciative of the professionalism and response of our City partners who assisted last night.”

The say Animal Control has confirmed that there are no health risks or issues that might affect the public stemming from the event, and that officials are hoping to learn more about the root cause of the “regrettable incident.” 

“After learning more, we are willing to evaluate potential adjustments that we hope would mitigate future occurrences. Following the conclusion of a scheduled event at the Hall tonight, we will reduce lighting to a minimal level. Continued dialogue to address concerns regarding this matter is important to us,” the statement read. 

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