The Lights Out Pledge

Turning out the lights can do a lot of good for birds. During spring and fall bird migration, billions of birds fly thousands of miles to reach their destination. This is one of the hardest times in a bird’s life, and the last thing they need is additional obstacles. One of the biggest sources of unnecessary migration strain is caused by light pollution. In ‘light’ of our 1% for the Planet partnership with Audubon Rockies, we are excited to take part in the Lights Out program. Join us in reducing light pollution and learning more about how to help support bird migration. 

Most birds migrate at night

Birds have an amazing built-in GPS system. In fact, it is so amazing that scientists don’t even fully understand it. What we do know is that birds primarily fly in greatest numbers and the longest distances at night during migration. The night sky also provides more anonymity, keeping them safe from predators.

There are many threats that birds face during migration, but one of the greatest hazards is actually light. Artificial light and skyglow cause a number of issues including: 

  • Fatal collisions with windows and walls
  • Lights cause birds to circle areas, and become confused and exhausted
  • Displacement which leads to less successful breeding, smaller egg clutches, and lower bird populations 

How can Lights Out help?

As big of an issue as lights are, it’s also one that humans have the power to control. Collectively we can make a serious difference for birds during migration by simply turning our lights off during periods of active migration. 

Lights Out is a nationally organized effort by the National Audubon Society to minimize light pollution for birds during heavy migration seasons. The program works by organizing support from building owners, municipalities and residents to minimize artificial light and skyglow at night when migrating or nocturnal birds are most active during spring and fall migration.

On our mission to grow better for people, pets, and the planet, we are proud to support healthy bird populations and continue working to build better bird communities. Not only do birds benefit backyards, but taking the Lights Out pledge also saves energy costs and helps lower our carbon footprint. That’s what we call a win for everyone.

How you can get involved

Being a bird advocate is pretty easy. By turning off lights by midnight, you’re instantly helping migratory birds overhead navigate to their intended destinations. If you want to immerse yourself further into doing good for birds, here’s how to join your Lights Out program in your city or state: 

  1. Sign up for the lights out program in your city (if there’s not a program in your area, pledge the next biggest city near you!).
  2. Turn off your lights by or before 12am (and change up other light, energy, window collision fixes).
  3. Contact your local elected officials or building manager to request them to turn off building lights and unnecessary skyglow in your community. 
  4. Be a birdy advocate and share with friends and family.

Supporting birds begins at home

Looking for more ways to support your feathered friends? Check out these tips to help you build a more bird-friendly backyard that supports bird migration.