Lights Out Portland
Fall Migration Dates: 25 August through 15 November
Spring Migration Dates: 15 March through 7 June, dusk until dawn
It may come as a surprise, but many diurnal birds migrate at night in
order to avoid predation, to maximize daylight foraging hours, and to
use celestial cues for navigation.
Bright city lights confuse birds by obscuring their navigational aids, and lure them into cities where they may hit buildings directly or circle buildings until they collapse from exhaustion. Once trapped in the windowed maze of the city, they face the hazard of striking windows which reflect illusions of trees, shrubs, and sky.
Lights Out Programs, now underway in 21 North American cities (Toronto,
New York, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Houston, San
Francisco, Indianapolis, etc), help to prevent birds from being
attracted into cities. In Chicago, one Lights Out building showed an
80% decrease in strike rates after joining the LO ranks. Lights Out
programs help us save energy, reduce our carbon footprint, save money,
save birds, and restore our view of the stars. An emerging field of
study is discovering that ecological light pollution is a hazard to
circadian rhythms plants, animals, and humans.
Lights Out participation is voluntary and seasonal. Buildings are asked to extinguish unnecessary overnight lighting from late-August through mid-November (fall) and mid-March through early-June (spring). Top priority is turning off rooftop architectural lighting. To comply, buildings can also extinguish interior lighting on upper floors, move maintenance and cleaning activities to daytime hours, turn off upward directed sign lighting and make sure that outdoor lights are properly shielded.
Buildings enrolled in Lights Out Portland will be named on our website and in press releases!
LO Participating Buildings:
Portland Building (in progress)
Congress Center (in progress)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Regional Office (in progress)
Need a cash incentive? Energy Trust of Oregon offers incentives to increase the energy-efficiency of lighting fixtures and controls. Visit Energy Trust of Oregon to learn more.
Worried about safety? Read up on how poorly-designed lighting actually decreases safety or on how The Chicago Alley Lighting Project revealed that crime increased 21% after alley lighting was increased in both frequency and wattage.
Everyone can participate! Official enrollment in Lights Out is for large-scale buildings, but we can all contribute to the solution. Make sure that your exterior light fixtures are well-shielded, and are not producing dazzling glare. During migration seasons, draw blinds or curtains to reduce light spill that contributes to sky glow. Encourage your employer to enroll in Lights Out Portland!
This year, we received a $10,000 Together Green grant from Toyota and National Audubon Society to continue our surveys and to launch a LIGHTS OUT PORTLAND program. (Read the Warbler article) LO Portland is an effort to engage buildings in voluntarily turning off of unnecessary overnight lighting during spring and fall migration season. But buildings are not the only culprits in the window strike conundrum: residences comprise the bulk of windows across the landscape in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Find out what you can do to reduce strikes at your house.
What You Can Do (video)