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Advocacy

Lights Out for Birds

Most North American migratory birds fly at night, and lights on buildings can disorient birds on their paths, resulting in fatal collisions. The Upper Texas Coast plays a key role on the Central Flyway, an important migratory path for birds. Birds that move along and across the Gulf of Mexico depend on safe passage through the Houston-Galveston area. Throughout migration, and particularly during storm fronts, turning Lights Out for Birds can make a difference.

Why Lights Out

  • Migrating birds use the moon, stars, and electromagnetic fields to make their migratory trips successful
  • About 70% of North American birds are migratory, and 80% of these species migrate at night. City Lights can cause birds to become disoriented which can lead to building collisions
  • In the U.S. an estimated 340 million birds die from collisions with city buildings
  • Weather fronts during migration can exacerbate the challenges faced by migratory birds on this already difficult journey.

What's Being Done

Houston Audubon’s Lights Out Action Alerts are distributed during times when high predicted migration through our region coincides with a weather front. By using Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdCast program, Houston Audubon staff are able to track predicated migration levels and weather forecasts to make science-based determinations of when birds at the greatest risk of collision. Distributing these alerts can serve as a reminder for residents and businesses alike to turn off their lights for migratory birds.

How You Can Help


Sign Up for Lights Out Action Alerts and Take the Pledge

Choose a pledge level below to receive Lights Out Action Alerts.

Best: I pledge to turn out my lights at night during all of migration (March 15-May 15 in spring, September 15-November 15 in fall)

Better: I pledge to turn out my lights at night during the 19 days of  peak migration (April 21-May 10)

Good: I pledge to turn out my lights at night during weather events as suggested by the Lights Out Action Alerts

Pledge Level

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (see links at the bottom of the page).

If your company or business is interested in participating in the Lights Out for Birds program, please email avallery@houstonaudubon.org.

We will not share your email address with any other party. See our Privacy Policy below.


Additional Tips

  • Encourage office colleagues to keep their blinds closed when working at night.
  • Recognize that turning lights out saves energy in addition to helping birds.
  • Identify passionate volunteers who may want to encourage the community and share interest about birds and other wildlife.
  • Assess bird strikes if they do happen. Submit findings to Fatal Light Awareness Program (see below).
  • Must have lights? Design lighting to focus down to the ground or use small lights on the ground that do not aim skyward. Find more information below.
  • Make choices for the daytime, too. Choose less reflective glass, use deterrent adhesives, and place indoor plants away from windows where birds may mistake them for habitat. For more information on daytime strikes, visit the websites below.

More Information

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