Save the Birds, Turn off Your Lights during Fall Migration in Texas
Imagine arriving to work in the morning with coffee in hand and seeing hundreds of dead birds at your feet. This happened on Thursday, May 4, 2017, when workers found 395 dead birds lying on the plaza of Galveston’s American National Insurance building. Only three birds survived.
Originally launched in 2017 by Houston Audubon, Lights Out Texas has grown statewide due to standardization by Texan by Nature with other leading organizations. Today, the effort is facilitated by Audubon Texas in collaboration with conservation non-profits, universities, governmental organizations, and Texans dedicated to the conservation of birds.
Since then, American National and other businesses have worked with the Houston Audubon and Galveston County Audubon Group to implement preventive measures to create safe passage for birds during migration. And, you can help too!
Every fall, nearly 2 billion birds migrate south through Texas, most flying at night. Did you know that by turning off your excess lighting during migration, you can help provide safe passage for these birds as they travel to their summer homes?
Here are some easy things you can do to save the birds (Source: Birdcast):
- Turn off all non-essential lights from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night during migration season, Aug. 15 through Nov. 30.
- Do not use landscape lighting to light up trees or gardens where birds may be resting.
- For essential lights (like security lighting), use the following lighting practices:
- Aim lights down
- Use lighting shields to direct light downwards and to avoid light shining into the sky or trees
- Use motion detectors and sensors, so lights are only on when you need them
- Close blinds at night to reduce the amount of light from windows
- Share your success on social media and with the press, your commitment to go lights out to save birds is newsworthy!
Guidelines for buildings taller than three stories (Source: Birdcast)
- Extinguish or dim: Exterior and decorative lighting (i.e., spotlights, logos, clock faces, greenhouses, and antenna lighting); lobby/atrium lighting; and lighting in perimeter rooms on all building levels.
- Avoid Floodlights, illuminating interior plants or fountains and unoccupied floors; scheduling cleaning crews after dark, and blue-rich white light emissions (lighting with a color temperature of over 3000 Kelvin).
- Use: Desk lamps or task lighting rather than overhead lights; blinking lighting instead of continuously burning lights; and warm light sources (less than 3000 Kelvin) for outdoor lighting.
- Explain the policy to staff, which saves both birds and money.
- Designate staff members who’ll be responsible for turning off lights.
BirdCast provides live and local bird migration alerts throughout the continental US, as detected by radar. This tool can check if birds are migrating in your area tonight in low, medium, or high densities. Current designated Bird Cities on the Upper Texas Coast are Galveston and Surfside. Other locations can use the local bird migration alert. Remember, by turning out all non-essential lights outside and inside from 11 PM – 6 AM during peak Fall Migration from August 15 through November 30, you’ll create a safe flight path for billions of birds!
To learn more, visit Lights Out Texas, a campaign of education, awareness, and action that focuses on turning out lights at night during the spring and fall migrations to help protect the billions of migratory birds flying over Texas annually.
For more ideas to discover the beauty of the Upper Texas Coast, download our Explore Nature Trip Plan.
Lone Star Coastal Alliance is committed to promoting nature and heritage tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities in Jefferson, Galveston, Brazoria, and Matagorda Counties.