Lights Out campaign protects birds


Staff report



TROY — Every spring and fall, millions of birds migrate through Ohio on their way to or from their breeding grounds.

Many birds migrate at night, and lights on tall buildings or aimed at the sky can disorient them and draw them into the buildings. This causes many birds to strike windows or circle buildings until they fall from exhaustion. Building collisions are a leading cause of bird fatality during migration in North America, and it is estimated that more than 500 million birds die each year from building collisions in the United States alone.

The Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative has partnered with a number of organizations around the Dayton area to reduce bird collisions with buildings through the Lights Out Miami Valley campaign.

Starting in mid-March, building owners, managers and residents will be encouraged to reduce exterior nighttime lighting during peak bird migration periods. Similar programs have been successful in a number of cities across the U.S., including Chicago, New York, Indianapolis and Minneapolis. The Lights Out Chicago program reports an 80 percent reduction in building collisions following a reduction in nighttime light emissions.

In recent years, volunteers have been collecting data on bird collisions in Columbus and Dayton and have found hundreds of birds of various species, including brown creeper, indigo bunting, bay-breasted warbler, yellow-bellied sapsucker and Baltimore oriole.

In addition to the potential to significantly reduce bird-collison deaths, Lights Out Miami Valley will assist building owners and managers in decreasing their energy costs. For example, Lights Out Wilmington estimated savings of $6,000 per year for a 20-story building participating in the Lights Out program.

For information about how to volunteer or to enroll a building in the progtam, visit http://ohiolightsout.org.

Staff report