The Celebration of Urban Birds isn’t just about “Bird Counts” and helping to create welcome habitats for your ornithological neighbors. Protecting migratory birds is an urgent part of this process. Just as we work to create and support buffer zones around nature reserves in various parts of the world, we need to think about ways that human lifestyles impact animal health and habitat.
New York City Audubon’s Director of Conservation Susan Elbin states that
Night-time migrants navigate using cues which include moon-light and star position, and may become confused by the glare of tall building lights.
Iconic NYC landmarks including the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center are participating in Lights Out New York and the program is gaining participants to the degree that additional cities across the U.S. and Canada are expressing interest, as well. Studies are already indicating that the decrease in “urban glow” is leading to a decline in migratory bird fatalities.
Participating buildings are taking conservation action on a variety of levels: decreasing the hazard to migratory birds; reducing their carbon footprint and lowering their own energy consumption costs. In future, there may be the additional benefit of receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits for participating buildings.
New York has always considered itself an innovator on many levels. Lights Out New York may set the example that will turn the Big Apple Green.