Lights out for the birds: Central Texas cities going dark to help migration

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DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — Several cities in Central Texas are continuing the effort

The city of Dripping Springs is once again asking everyone to pledge to turn off all exterior lights during the fall bird migration. Since most birds migrate at night, turning off outside lights helps them make it to their destinations safely.

Many local governments have had birds on the brain lately.

The City of Austin recently approved a resolution to prevent birds from hitting buildings in the city. The program would work to ensure nonessential lighting in city buildings are off during peak migrations periods.

“Birds must contend with a rapidly increasing but still under-recognized threat of light pollution, which attracts and disorients these migrating birds, confusing them and making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings and other urban threats,” reads the resolution to be heard by Council.

The Dripping Springs initiative officially begins Sunday and lasts through October 29.

Light pollution

It’s estimated that around 365-988 million birds in the U.S. die every year because of light pollution, which is the glow of lights from urban areas. Lights attract birds and increase their chances of colliding with buildings, the National Wildlife Federation explains.

Lights Out Texas is a statewide initiative for Texans to dim nonessential lighting between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. during September-October and April-May. Businesses can even sign up to certify their commitment to helping our feathery friends.

Two Texas cities rank among the highest in the nation for the most dangerous light polluted cities. A 2019 study showed Dallas as the third and Houston as the number one most-dangerous city for migrating birds.

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