Excess Lights Out, Stillwater! Saves Birds - Saves Energy - Saves Money

As part of Stillwater's Bird City initiative and its commitment to GreenStep City Best Practices, Sustainable Stillwater MN is urging Stillwater to adopt measures that address light pollution and its impact on the environment.





Over 250 species of birds migrate through Stillwater, up the St. Croix River Valley through Minnesota, each spring and fall. Birds migrate at night and can be drawn off their flight path by lit structures, according to the Audubon Society. Mortality at lighted structures has been documented across a wide geographic area and a broad range of species. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that hundreds of millions of birds likely die annually from nocturnal collisions with buildings. Proposed explanations include that birds exhibit phototaxis and experience light-induced disorientation. Many birds have been known to drop from exhaustion after circling brightly lit buildings, reluctant to fly out of the light. The "Lights Out" programs, that include dimming, shielding, or eliminating excess lighting, have already been adopted by many cities nationwide and can dramatically reduce these collisions.


How Does Lights Out Work?

Lights Out is a voluntary program developed by the National Audubon Society, in which building owners, managers, tenants, and residents work together to ensure that unnecessary lighting is turned off at certain times of the year. A blackout is not required.

This also saves electricity and cuts costs.


Midnight until dawn:

  • March 15 to May 31 for spring migration

  • August 15 to October 31 for fall migration

Some examples are:

  • Turn off exterior lighting (leave security lights on as needed for safety)

  • Dim lobby and atrium lighting

  • Turn off interior lighting - especially upper floors

To sign up, click on the following link:

https://mn.audubon.org/conservation/lights-out-program


References:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/07/turning-off-building-lights-atnight-cuts-bird-collisions-study-shows

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320719312339

https://www.pnas.org/doi/pdf/10.1073/pnas.2101666118

https://www.audubon.org/news/we-finally-know-how-bright-lights-affect-birdsflying-night

https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.1708574114


Contact: Allison@sustainablestillwatermn.org

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