Join us in promoting Lights Out Texas! Every spring and fall, billions of birds migrate through the US, mostly under the cover of darkness. This mass movement of birds must contend with a dramatically increasing but still largely unrecognized threat: light pollution. Light pollution harms birds, but you can help.
U.S. bird populations are declining rapidly, with 1 out of every 4 birds lost since 1970. An estimated one billion U.S. bird deaths occur annually from collisions with buildings and structures, with migratory species at most risk. Attraction and disorientation resulting from light pollution concentrate migrant birds in cities. Texas is globally important for birds. Approximately 1 of every 3 birds migrating through the U.S. in spring, and 1 of every 4 bird migrating through the U.S. in the fall, or nearly two billion birds, pass through Texas. Protecting birds in Texas promotes conservation of bird populations across the Americas.
Why It Matters
Birds are essential to our planet’s ecology – and local economies. Birds provide ecosystem services, act as benchmarks for environmental health, increase livability, and connect people of all ages and abilities to the natural world. Birds also support the Texas economy. In the Rio Grande Valley alone, Texas A&M found that nature tourism – which is dominated by bird watching – contributes $300 million to the economy and supports 4,407 full and part-time jobs annually.
How YOU Can Make a Difference
Building owners, businesses, developers, and homeowners can help protect migrating birds by turning off all non-essential nighttime lighting on buildings and other structures from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. during peak migration time, which is April 19th-May 7th in most parts of the state. The entire migration season lasts from March 1st – June 15th.