TEXAS (August 10, 2023) — Despite the extreme heat, birds know colder months are around the corner and are preparing for their annual southern migration. Audubon Texas, in collaboration with conservation non-profits, universities, governmental organizations, and local communities, observes August 15 as the first day of the fall 2023 bird migration season for the Lights Out, Texas campaign. Birds continue traveling southward through the Western Hemisphere through November, with peak migration occurring September 6 - October 29.
An estimated 2 billion birds will follow migratory flight paths through Texas to their wintering grounds. Unfortunately, many will not complete the journey. Texans can help our feathered friends travel safely by turning off lights at night and encouraging neighbors and businesses to join the Lights Out, Texas campaign! Lights Out, Texas is a statewide initiative bringing education, awareness, and action on reducing excessive light during spring and fall seasonal migration to protect billions of migratory birds.
Since fall 2020, an estimated 2,680 bird surveys have been submitted to iNaturalist through the Lights Out, Texas campaign by partner organizations. This data demonstrates we must take more proactive action to transform our urban and suburban areas into bird friendly communities. “Birds play an important role in our ecosystem and regrettably face many threats throughout their migratory travels,” said Lisa Gonzalez, Vice President and Executive Director, Audubon Texas. “These threats continue to grow as our urban centers and the built infrastrcuture they require continue to expand.”
“When people think of pollutants, light pollution is rarely top of mind,” according to Azalia Rodriguez, Defenders of Wildlife Texas representative and lead for collision surveys in Austin. “I am passionate about Lights Out Texas because it encourages Texans to rethink and recognize our impact on wildlife in new ways.” In spring 2023, partners across Texas spent nearly 1,400 volunteer hours to field 305 collision surveys in the early morning hours, discovering 513 bird mortalities. Two mass collisions of note occurred in Dallas and Houston killing dozens of Cedar Waxwings. Individuals and business can reduce bird collisions by turning off lights during peak hours of migration, planting native plants and trees, and retrofitting windows with bird safe materials.
How will we know when the birds take flight? BirdCast, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, provides live migration forecasts and maps for every state in the continental U.S. Users can view the predicted bird migration traffic in their area and sign up for alerts. Communities are encouraged to turn off or shield as many exterior and interior lights as possible during the hours of 11 pm - 6 am, especially during the peak migration period from September 6 - October 29. Texans can share the message and take action with resources from the Lights Out Toolkit. To learn more about how the coalition is creating results in your community, enjoy the 2023 spring Lights Out, Texas! report.
About Audubon Texas
Audubon Texas is the state office of the National Audubon Society. The National Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon Texas's state programs, three nature centers in San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth, a South Texas sanctuary, and a network of 21 local chapters and numerous partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Audubon's vision is a world in which people and wildlife thrive. For more information and to find your local chapter visit https://tx.audubon.org/. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Defenders of Wildlife
Defenders of Wildlife works on the ground, in the courts, and on Capitol Hill to protect and restore imperiled wildlife and habitats across North America. Together, we can ensure a future for the wildlife and wild places we all love. Defenders of Wildlife deploys a wide range of tools and tactics, from policy analyses and advocacy, to litigation, innovative science and technology programs and field conservation.