Bulb Texas
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Bulb Texas

Lights Out, Texas!

It’s migration season, y’all. Let’s protect migrating birds by turning off non-essential lights from 11pm to 6am. You’ll save energy too. (And see more stars.)

Every spring and fall, billions of birds fly over the US in one of the largest migratory movements in the world. And the Lone Star State is a major flight path — in fact, one in every 4 birds swoop through Texas skies on their journey south.

We can help them find their way by turning off non-essential lights from 11pm to 6am, between August 15 and November 30. In Texas, peak migration happens between September 5 and October 29.

Why does this help? Light pollution is one of the biggest threats to our feathered friends. Artificial light attracts and disorients birds, causing them to collide with buildings in shocking numbers. An estimated 365 to 988 million birds die from these kinds of collisions every year!

By turning off our lights at night, we’ll help safeguard birds as they migrate — and save energy too. Not to mention the stars at night… well, they’ll be even bigger and brighter.

Here are a few things you can do at home, recommended by BirdCast — a group of researchers from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Colorado State University and The University of Massachusetts Amherst:

  • Turn off non-essential lights from 11pm to 6am
  • Turn off or dim interior home lighting, or draw blinds to prevent light escaping
  • Turn off decorative landscape lighting
  • Be sure outside lights are aimed down and well shielded
  • Install motion sensors on outside lights to minimize use

To get a better idea of how light pollution impacts birds and what it looks like when we use less energy at night (spoiler alert: it looks amazing), check out this video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We really liked the “before and after” shots of Texas cities that committed to going “Lights Out.”

About Lights Out Texas

Lights Out Texas is a collaborative project that encourages people to learn what they can do to protect birds (and other wildlife) during critical migrations. Find out more about this initiative here.

At the time of publishing this post, there were 383.7 million birds in flight. Want to see how many birds are migrating in real time? Check out BirdCast’s live migration maps to really nerd your bird (curiosity).

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