How to help local birds during fall migration with Lights Out, Texas

By turning off non-essential lights from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. you can help local birds travel safely.


Help our local birds travel safely this fall.

Photo via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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It’s that time of the year, y’all. Pumpkin spice lattes are in full swing, trees are going from brown to a darker shade of brown, and bird migration is underway.

Around 2 billion birds migrate through the Texas night sky during spring and fall. The bright artificial lights of cities — which create a phenomenon called sky glow — can cause traveling birds to become disoriented and crash into buildings or windows.

Enter: Lights Out, Texas.

What is Lights Out, Texas?

Bird conservation organization Audubon Texas started the initiative in 2017 and has since expanded state-wide with the help of Texan by Nature. Lights Out is meant to help reduce migratory bird deaths by increasing awareness and participation of cities to turn off non-essential lights.

How can I participate?

Austinites can help the birds in a variety of ways.

  • Turn off non-essential lights nightly between 11 p.m.-6 a.m.
  • Don’t use landscape lighting in trees or gardens.
  • Use light shields on home security systems.
  • Close blinds to reduce light emission to the outdoors.

Do you or does someone you know own a non-residential building? They can get involved with this kit of resources for businesses and buildings taller than three stories.

Read more about Dark Sky initiatives in the Austin area.

When is fall migration?

Fall migrations began on Tuesday, Aug. 15 and run through Thursday, Nov. 30. Peak migration takes place from Wednesday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Oct. 29.

Ready to learn more? The Travis Audubon Society offers a wide range of community programs and activities including birding field trips, classes, moonlit migration events, and a book club.

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