posted on March 24, 2008 22:35 :: 6162 Views
For the second year, a coalition of conservation groups and agencies have joined forces to make bird migration safer by making Minneapolis and St. Paul a bit darker, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The Lights Out Twin Cities project is encouraging city, state and private building owners to turn off non-necessary lighting in spring and fall during peak migration hours. This is the second year of the Lights Out campaign. It begins on March 15 and runs through the end of May from midnight until daylight.
The first year was very successful with 24 building owners joining in the effort to save birds. An added benefit building owners are reporting is energy savings. One building reported more than $2,000 energy savings last year by turning their lights out at night during migration.
“Since most songbirds fly at night they must find ways to navigate around hazards like tall buildings along their migratory routes,” said Carrol Henderson, DNR Nongame Wildlife program supervisor. “Many birds die preventable deaths as they collide with lighted buildings or are dazed by the lights and circle around until exhausted. Fewer birds are attracted to and suffer harm from darkened buildings.”
Lights Out efforts in Toronto, Chicago and New York have a proven track record of saving migratory birds.
Lights Out Twin Cities is one element of Project Bird Safe, a joint effort by Audubon, the Bell Museum of Natural History, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program. Volunteers are being sought to monitor buildings where they live or work to collect fallen birds. This information can be used to assess the magnitude of bird mortality around Twin Cities buildings.
People interested in volunteering may sign up for a mid-April training session by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or the state Audubon office at (651) 739.9332.