Lights Out for Birds!

Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

Help birds – help save energy

DEVILS LAKE - With fall migration underway, Audubon Dakota encourages community members to help birds safely journey to their wintering habitat by participating in Lights Out for Birds. Every year, millions of birds migrate across North and South Dakota. From Sandhill Cranes, ducks, and geese, to songbirds, like the Black-and-white warbler, most migratory birds make their remarkable bi-annual migration at night. Since they use natural cues by which to navigate in the night sky, light pollution from buildings and brightly lit homes can confuse and disorient birds. Once drawn to cities and suburbs, birds often fly into buildings directly or circle them until they collapse from exhaustion. Up to one billion birds are lost to collision and exhaustion every year in North America. Dimming non-essential lighting during peak migration can help birds make it to their destinations safely.

“Birds face numerous obstacles from human structures, not least of which is artificial light at night. Combined with buildings themselves, light pollution can prove fatal for migrating birds. The simple act of turning off lights during hours of darkness, of protecting the night from light pollution, can save countless avian lives. Additionally, more human-centric benefits can be found, ranging from avoiding numerous health problems of our own, to lower utility bills and decreased greenhouse gas emissions from reduced electricity generation." said Patrick Sommer, International Dark Sky Association Delegate.

Audubon’s Lights Out program is a national effort to reduce this problem. 

Community members and building managers can help migratory birds with these simple tips:

·         Turn off non-essential lights

·         Turn off or dim lobby and atrium lights

·         Turn off or dim interior home lighting

·         Turn off lights before leaving the home or office

·         Draw blinds and close curtains

·         Ensure outside lights are aimed down and well shielded

·         Install motion sensors on outside lights to minimize use

·         Share our message with family and friends using the hashtag #LightsOutforBirds

When to turn off lights

Lights out participation should happen between midnight and dawn during migration seasons:

·         Fall Migration: August 15 to November 15

·         Spring Migration: March 15 to May 31