Providing Safe Passage for Nocturnal Migrants
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Photo: Richard Gray / Audubon Photography Awards
Each year during fall and spring migrations, nearly two billion birds travel through Texas navigating with the night sky in one of the planet’s great wildlife spectacles.
However, as they pass over big cities on their way, they can become disoriented by bright artificial lights and skyglow, often causing them to collide with buildings or windows.
While lights can throw birds off their migration paths, bird fatalities are more directly caused by the amount of energy the birds waste flying around and calling out in confusion. The exhaustion can then leave them vulnerable to other urban threats. Just one building can cause major problems for birds in the area; within one week in 2017, nearly 400 passerines (warblers, grosbeaks, etc.) were caught in the floodlights of a 32-story Texas skyscraper and killed via window collisions.
Originally launched in 2017 by Houston Audubon, Lights Out Texas has grown statewide due to standardization by Texan by Nature with other leading organizations. Today, the effort is facilitated by Audubon Texas in collaboration with conservation non-profits, universities, governmental organizations, and Texans dedicated to the conservation of birds.
Our goal is to reduce migratory bird mortality by increasing statewide participation of cities and building owners to turn off non-essential lights.
Fall Migration: August 15 - November 30, 2023
Peak Migration: September 6 - October 29, 2023
We encourage everyone to turn off non-essential lights at night from 11 pm – 6 am during the full fall and spring migration periods, and where conflicts apply, prioritize lights out during the critical peak migration periods. BirdCast tools by Cornell Lab of Ornithology inform us when increased migration traffic will happen in your area. Stay informed and subscribe to alerts today!
Our full suite of resources has something for everyone! Check our guide for tips and resources to get involved in your community.
DARK SKY RESOURCES
McDonald Observatory’s Dark Sky Resources
Recommended Lighting Practices (for energy companies, but practices are applicable across all industries)
International Dark Sky Association Lighting Resources
To learn more about media impressions, volunteer efforts, and participating businesses and cities read the following seasonal Lights Out Texas migration reports:
Lights Out Texas Founding and Coordinating Organizations
Subscribe to our newsletter for updates about Audubon Texas's conservation work, and news about our activities and local events.