Lights Out NYC!

One of the defining characteristics of any metropolis are the shining skyscrapers that dominate the skyline.  However this fall, many of New York’s ironic buildings – like the Empire State, Rockefeller Center, Chrysler Building – are going dark after midnight.  Why?  They are part of a Lights Out New York campaign organized by the NYC Audubon to save migrating birds from collisions with these buildings.

While we humans enjoy the lights, migrating birds depend on light as one of the ways they find their way south at night.  While usually the only source of light are the stars and the moon, birds flying through urban areas meet lit up skyscrapers and other tall buildings, causing confusion for the birds and a potentiaally fatal collision.  Imagine getting up at 5am and going to work after only 4 hours of sleep; sometimes we don’t notice the glass door that blocks us from our favorite coffee joint.  That’s close to what these birds are feeling.  The NYC Audubon estimates that 90,000 birds die each year from colliding with tall buildings during the annual migration south in New York City alone.  The Field Museum of Chicago estimates that when one building turns off its lights, it can reduce the number of birds killed by 83% per building.

The New York City Audubon started the Lights Out Campaign in 2005 in response to the growing concern over bird collisions.  This campaign began on September 1 and will last to October 31.  If you are interested in registering your building for this campaign, contact Leslie Chase at lchase@nycaudubon.org.

All the more reason to turn off the lights when you leave.  Saving electricity and saving the birds!

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