XENIA — More than 500 million birds are killed each year in the United States from colliding with building windows as many species migrate at night and are disoriented by the lights emitted from tall buildings or aimed at the sky.
“Millions of birds migrate through Ohio,” said Greene County Parks & Trails (GCP&T) Chief Naturalist Cris Barnett, “and GCP&T urges local businesses to join the efforts of Lights Out Miami Valley to protect our winged visitors who are passing through the region.”
The Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative partnered with several organizations around the Dayton-area to reduce bird collisions with buildings by requesting managers to reduce exterior nighttime lighting during peak bird migration periods beginning in mid-March.
Similar programs have been successful in cities such as Chicago, New York, Indianapolis and Minneapolis. Lights Out Chicago reported an 80 percent reduction in building collisions.
Local volunteers have collected data on bird collisions in Columbus and Dayton with discoveries of various species killed, including Brown Creeper, Indigo Bunting, Bay-breasted Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Baltimore Oriole.
Lights Out Miami Valley may also decrease energy costs.
“Lights Out Wilmington in North Carolina estimated savings of $6,000 each year for each 20-story building,” said Barnett.
Steps to take to prevent bird collisions include:
-Eliminate exterior decorative lighting, especially upward-facing spotlights
-Draw your blinds at night and turn off lights in rooms that are not in use
-Move house plants away from windows so birds don’t mistake them for available habitat
-Position bird feeders and birdbaths either within three feet of the window or further than 15 feet away
-Use ABC BirdTape to make windows safe for birds
-Use Tempera paint to create patterns on windows
-Add screens to exterior windows to break up the reflection and cushion the blow if birds do collide with the window
-Stretch lightweight netting over the window
Support for the program has been provided by the Elizabeth Wakeman Henderson Foundation and The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund.
For more information on Lights Out Miami Valley and the Ohio Lights Out campaign, including how to volunteer or enroll a building, visit www.ohiolightsout.org.
Story courtesy of Greene County Parks & Trails.