New York State to Turn Lights Out for Migrating Birds

New York State to Turn Lights Out for Migrating Birds

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NYC night-CC-dolbinator1000-800px

The bright lights of New York attract millions of people to the big city, but they’ll be attracting fewer birds–which is a good thing for endangered songbirds that travel up America’s East Coast every year.

New York’s state government buildings are officially joining the National Audubon Society’s Lights Out initiative to help migrating birds bypass the city and its dangers. The state order follows decisions made at some of the most famous landmarks in The Big Apple — including Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building — to dim their lights. Other cities, including Baltimore, Washington, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Chicago, are also doing their part to dim the lights for birds passing through town– helping annual migratory flocks in the Midwest, too.

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Migrating birds often suffer from “fatal light attraction,” a condition that draws them to bright lights and leads them off their flight paths, often causing casualties when they fly into tall buildings in Spring and Fall.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered that non-essential lights be turned off between 11:00 pm and dawn during peak migration times until May 31, then again from August 15 to November 15.

New York leaders have also launched an I Love NY Birding website, highlighting the 450 different species of birds which live inside New York’s state borders.

While the bright lights are a threat to some species, others — like this peregrine falcon seen soaring near the Chrysler Building — thrive in them, nesting atop skyscrapers and soaring on the updrafts created by the city’s man-made canyons.

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SHARE (below) with other bird lovers…  / Photo credits: (top) dolbinator, CC; (falcon) Terry Turner