Lights Out, Texas!

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. 

Lights Out, Texas is a statewide campaign of education, awareness, and action to address this problem.

Lights Out Texas - Project Overview / Cornell Lab of Ornithology

How It Started

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.

How to Participate

Spring Migration: March, 1 - June 15, 2024

Peak Migration: April 22 - May 12, 2024 

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.

For more information about Lights Out, please contact chloe.crumley@audubon.org. You can also sign up for our Lights, Out Texas News here.

Additional Resources

Want to Go Lights Out!

Learn more about how to make your home or business dark sky friendly.

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 

Texas Chapter - International Dark Sky Association

LEARN MORE

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

            

         

    Lights Out Texas Supporting Organizations

How you can help, right now