Turn the Lights Off for the Migratory Birds

Day 115 – Tonight, over 200 million birds are expected to take to the night sky and migrate to their summer homes. In order to help these birds make the trip safely, we are asked to turn off the lights.

“Light attracts and disorients migrating birds, confusing and exhausting them as well as making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings, not to mention other urban threats like cats and toxins. An estimated 365 – 988 million birds die in collisions with buildings annually, including a number of species of high conservation concern. The BirdCast team joins a growing international Lights Out efforts already underway, including in over 30 cities in North America, in proposing and implementing a solution as simple as flipping a switch.”Birdcast.info

Since 2000, the managers of many of Chicago’s tall buildings have served as examples to the nation of how birds’ lives can be saved. Chicago’s Lights Out program is the first in the nation.

Here’s how you can help, as suggested by the Chicago Audubon Society.

Tall buildings can save many birds by extinguishing decorative lighting on the upper stories after 11 p.m. each evening and leaving lights off until daylight from March 15 to June 15 for the spring  migration, and again from August 15 to November 15 for the fall migration. Birds migrate throughout these months. Tenants on the upper floors are encouraged to turn out lights or draw blinds after 11 p.m. These recommendations apply to all buildings of 40 or more stories and to buildings of 20 or more stories that are isolated from other buildings.

Short buildings along the lakefront (with extensive glass exteriors) can save birds by extinguishing exterior lighting and extinguishing interior lighting or drawing blinds from March 15 to June 15 each evening after 1 a.m. and from August 15 to November 15, leaving the lights off until daylight. Buildings with lighted atria can save birds by reducing atrium lighting in the early morning hours.

Based on research, we recommend that during the Lights Out migration periods, lights be turned off (or blinds drawn) in all perimeter office and residential space on all Floors from 4 am to full daylight. Birds that are decreasing their elevation to settle in to rest after their long migratory journey will have reduced risk of colliding with windows.

So, be sure to turn your lights off. Not only will you be helping the birds, but you will be conserving energy.

Tomorrow, decluttering and getting organized.

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