Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 13, 2012

LIghts Out For Bird Migration


A message from the Golden Gate Audubon Society…

Lights Out for Birds Fall Migration: August 15 through November 30, 2012

The San Francisco Bay Area is part of the Pacific Flyway, a migratory route for hundreds of species of North American birds. Over 200 species of birds migrate through each year. Many migrate at night and are confused by the urban lights, particularly those on tall structures. Lights left on in tall buildings lure many birds into fatal collisions, resulting in millions of bird deaths throughout the United States each year. Lights Out for Birds is a program where building owners, managers, and tenants turn off lights within their buildings during the bird migratory season (February to May and August to November). San Francisco was one of the first cities to participate in Lights Out for Birds. The program is spreading and is now active in 22 cities in the US and Minnesota’s state owned or leased buildings.

Why are tall buildings a trap for migrating birds?

The lights on tall buildings confuse the navigation systems of birds. The birds circle the buildings repeatedly and may collide with the building or suffer from exhaustion and die.

What kind of birds are they?

Songbirds migrate at night. Many migratory bird populations are already in significant decline. What are the economic benefits of the Lights Out Program? Building operators and tenants have reported significant savings on energy bills as a result of participation. Reduced energy consumption reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions, which can intensify global warming. Protecting bird species before their populations decline to the point of being endangered makes good financial sense because protecting endangered species is extremely costly to businesses and taxpayers.

How to Help? Your company can participate in Lights Out for Birds by turning off lighting after dusk each evening and leaving lights off until daylight. Tenants are encouraged to turn out lights or draw blinds at dusk. This is particularly important for tall buildings and buildings with glass exteriors or windows, especially those near the Bay. For more information, contact




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