Downtown Fort Worth turning ‘lights out’ to save migrating birds

Published on September 08, 2021

Downtown Fort Worth’s high-rise buildings and the City of Fort Worth’s future city hall have joined the mission to help save the lives of birds as they begin their fall migration through Texas.

The skyline will look a little different as lights will be dimmed 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly through Nov. 30.

Commercial participants include Frost Bank, Sundance Square, Bank of America Tower, Wells Fargo Tower, 777 Main and First on 7th.

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As part of a nationwide initiative called Lights Out, a program of the National Audubon Society, the goal is to protect billions of birds as they migrate across the United States — one of the largest migrations on the planet and one that occurs primarily at night. Lights from buildings, especially in urban areas, attract and disorient migrating birds, confusing and exhausting them and making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings.

According to research at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and Lights Out Texas, the state is globally important for birds. Approximately one of every three birds migrating through the U.S. flies through Texas.

Of Texas’ 615 documented species of birds, about half will migrate. Through the course of the season, millions of birds will pass through the Lone Star State on their way to warmer southern climates.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, the fall bird migration includes the wood stork, multiple species of hummingbirds, swallows, at least a dozen species of warblers and various hawk species, to mention a few.

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You do not have to live downtown to take part – everyone in the city can reduce light pollution at night for a few hours to support this effort. Turning off lights dramatically reduces hazards and disorientation by light, allowing birds to safely proceed with their migratory journeys.

Learn more from the National Audubon Society. 

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