'Lights Out Philly' Initiative Will Save Birds From Building Collisions

More than 15 years of advocacy, and one particularly galvanizing bird kill event, have created the momentum necessary for widespread adoption of the Lights Out Philly initiative.

April 14, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Beautiful but deadly. | Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock

Nate Berg reports that the city of Philadelphia is finally taking collective action to prevent bird deaths from collisions with buildings.

"Beginning April 1, and running for the duration of both the spring and autumn bird migration periods, buildings across Philadelphia will be voluntarily turning off their lights at night," writes Berg.

The voluntary effort is the result of advocacy work by Audubon Mid-Atlantic dating back to 2006. But the final straw was a particularly devastating episode in October 2020, when a "rare convergence of the semiannual migration period and bad weather," along with lights left on buildings, combined to kill more than 1,000 birds in one night.

Bird deaths resulting from collisions with buildings are nothing new. Seemingly clear flight paths seen through the windows of buildings, reflections of trees and other potential habitats, and the lure of bright and confusing lights during nighttime migration all contribute to a shocking number of bird-building crashes. Researchers estimate that collisions with buildings cause up to one billion bird deaths annually in the United States, making a very clear argument for why buildings and cities need to be designed with birds in mind.

Berg describes more about the voluntary initiative called Lights Out Philly in the source article linked below.

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