Mayor Eric Johnson declares Lights Out Nights in Dallas for fall bird migration

DALLAS — Mayor Eric Johnson is again urging residents and businesses to turn out non-essential lights at night during a critical migratory period for birds in the United States.

Light pollution, prominent in major metropolitan areas, threatens birds migrating throughout the country. The birds are disoriented by lights at night and are more likely to collide with buildings as a result.

To raise awareness as part of the Lights Out Texas initiative, led by former First Lady Laura Bush, Mayor Johnson issued a proclamation declaring 11 p.m.-6 a.m. between September 27 and October 17, 2021, as “Lights Out Nights” in Dallas.

“The Lights Out Texas initiative is a win-win for Dallas. It can help our residents and businesses save on energy costs and also helps protect our ecosystem,” Mayor Johnson said. “I want to thank former First Lady Laura Bush for her strong advocacy for this critically important initiative, and I am proud to stand with her as we encourage the people of our great city to turn off their non-essential interior and exterior lights over the next few weeks. By taking this small step together, we can make a major difference for our environment.”

“Throughout the next month, hundreds of millions of birds will migrate through our state,” Bush said. “We can ensure their safe passage with the simple act of turning off non-essential lights at night. Dallas has been a leader in the Lights Out Texas efforts, and I want to thank Mayor Johnson for setting a fine example. I invite all Texans to join us as we darken the skies for the great fall migration. And look up…you might see something spectacular.”

Here is the language of the mayor’s proclamation:

WHEREAS, Every spring and fall, nearly two billion birds travel through the State of Texas; This number represents between a quarter and a third of all birds migrating throughout the United States; and

WHEREAS, It is important to recognize this massive migration of birds occurs at night; and

WHEREAS, These birds must contend with a rapidly increasing but still under-recognized threat: light pollution; Light attracts and disorients these migrating birds, confusing them and making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings and other urban threats; and

WHEREAS, The extensive and intense light pollution from Texas cities, combined with the enormous bird migration, creates a particularly hazardous environment; In one study, Dallas ranked №3 of the 125 most populous American cities for exposing migrating birds to light pollution; and

WHEREAS, The City of Dallas is a community that cares about protecting wildlife and the environment; Dallas is recognized as one of the seven cities certified as a “Bird City” by Texas Parks and Wildlife; and

WHEREAS, Dallas is joining an international Lights Out effort by proposing and implementing a simple solution to protect birds: turning off non-essential lighting during critical migration periods; Turning off non-essential lights dramatically reduces hazards to migrating birds, allowing them to safely proceed with their journeys; and

WHEREAS, With each passing season, light pollution continues to increase, and more birds are at risk; and

WHEREAS, Lights Out Texas is a statewide initiative that aims to raise awareness of this issue and is led by former First Lady Laura Bush, a coalition of conservation non-profits, universities, governmental organizations, and Texans dedicated to the conservation of birds; and

WHEREAS, All Dallas residents and business owners are encouraged to help protect birds by turning off all non-essential lighting in downtown and beyond during the spring critical bird migration period, which is between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from September 27, 2021, until October 17, 2021, in Texas.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ERIC JOHNSON, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF DALLAS, do hereby proclaim the nights of September 27 through October 17, 2021, as

LIGHTS OUT NIGHTS

in Dallas, Texas.

For more information, find an informational video and other resources at the BirdCast Lights Out page, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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