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MIRRORED BUILDING PROVING FATAL TO MIGRATING FINCHES

Birds are mistaking the mirrored sides of a state office building for the wide open spaces, and officials are trying to come up with a way to stop them from crashing into the sides of the building.

"Thirty birds hit the windows today, and 11 died," said Kelly Gray, a state employee. "This happens every year, but I've never noticed it like this before."The birds are Western tanagers, 6- to 8-inch finches that are migrating north.

The Joe Williams Office Building formerly was known as the Hall of Mirrors. It was built with mirror sides to make it easier to heat and air condition. But birds apparently have been confused.

Norm Nelson, a wildlife film maker with Echo Film Productions, said workers in the building called him. "From what I understand, employees have tried desperately to get the people who run the building to do something about this.

"The birds simply collide with the sky. They think they're flying through sky," he said.

Mike Despot, chief of the Bureau of Building Services, said, "We don't have a good solution at this point."

Others have suggested streamers hanging in the wind, black squares over the windows or silhouettes of raptors. Despot said stuffed owls have been used.

"That was effective until the birds realized they weren't real," he said.