Lights Out for the Birds

Throughout November, cities across Texas opt to dim the lights on their high-rise buildings from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. to ensure migrating birds can fly safely in the Texas skies.

Urban areas across the Lone Star State look a little darker than usual, as high-rise buildings opt to dim their lights to save the birds.

Joining the National Audubon Society’s initiative Lights Out, Fort Worth commercial buildings, including Frost Bank, Sundance Square, Bank of America Tower, Wells Fargo Tower, 777 Main, and First on 7th, will turn their lights off at night. The building for the future city hall will also dim its lights.

The skyline will be darkened every night through November from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Cities including Dallas, Austin, and Houston are also making sure our feathered friends migrate safely.

The Lights Out goal is to protect billions of birds as they migrate across the U.S. Lights from buildings, especially in urban areas, attract and disorient migrating birds, confusing and exhausting them and making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings.

According to research at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and Lights Out Texas, the state is globally essential for birds. Approximately one of every three birds migrating through the U.S. flies through Texas.

Of Texas’ 615 documented species of birds, about half will migrate. Through the course of the season, millions of birds will pass through the Lone Star State on their way to warmer southern climates.

While some may think dimming the lights is unnecessary, 2017 proved how dangerous high-rise lights could be.

In 2017, the 32-story American National Insurance skyscraper in Galveston was the scene of hundreds of birds dying when they became confused by the 20 white beams that illuminated the plaza.

According to the National Audubon Society, 395 warblers, grosbeaks, and other passerines flew into the floodlights and collided with the building’s windows.

The following day, only three birds were found alive.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the fall bird migration includes the wood stork, multiple species of hummingbirds, swallows, at least a dozen species of warblers, and various hawk species, to mention a few.

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