Lights Out Texas is a campaign of education, awareness, and action that focuses on turning out lights at night during the Spring and Fall migrations to help protect the billions of migratory birds that fly over Texas annually. The goal of Lights Out Texas is to reduce migratory bird mortality by increasing statewide participation at the business, local official, municipal, and community levels, as well as collecting and reporting data.
This effort was originally launched in 2017 by Houston Audubon and American National Insurance Company following a major bird collision event involving 400 birds in Galveston. Right around this time, Cornell Lab of Ornithology developed their BirdCast migration forecast maps using historical radar data. Later, Lights Out Texas took hold in Dallas-Fort Worth, led by Texas Conservation Alliance, The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and Dallas Zoo with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Colorado State University supporting efforts and Texan by Nature helping with outreach in Fall 2020. Throughout 2021, Texan by Nature (TxN) collaborated with these leading organizations to facilitate Lights Out Texas at the statewide level in order to standardize the approach to messaging, communication, and volunteer efforts across all Texas organizations. In 2022, the management of Lights Out Texas for Spring of 2022 was co-facilitated by Texan by Nature and Audubon Texas, with a total transition of the statewide initiative to Audubon Texas in the Summer of 2022.
As fall bird migration quickly approaches, please save the date for going lights out at night:
- Full Fall Migration Period: August 15 – November 30
- Critical Peak Migration Period: September 5 – October 29
We hope you will join us in turning out lights at night from 11 pm to 6 am throughout fall migration and celebrate the success from spring bird migration below.
Spring 2022 Lights Out Texas Campaign by the Numbers
- Social media and outreach toolkits were distributed to 115+ conservation organizations across Texas.Outreach to media outlets resulted in 67 earned media placements receiving 680,846,200 impressions.
- 627 earned social media posts reached 9,055,537 accounts, receiving 51,823 likes/reactions and 8,419 shares.
- Through email outreach efforts, 800+ businesses operating in Texas were targeted with Lights Out Texas messaging and 57 businesses confirmed participation in turning out lights at night for migrating birds.
- 11 cities and 2 counties made proclamations.
- Individuals, municipalities, and businesses made 440 Lights Out Texas pledges through Texas Conservation Alliance’s Lights Out for Wildlife Certification, and an additional 299 pledges were made with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- Four organizations conducted on-the-ground volunteer efforts to understand bird-building collisions, 124 people contributed 1,212 volunteer hours and documented 362 bird casualties.
Check out these social media posts, quotes, and articles featuring Lights Out Texas from this past spring.
City of Dallas Proclamation- Mayor Johnson: “On Earth Day, Mayor Johnson proclaims ‘Lights Out Nights’ in Dallas to help migratory birds,” was featured on medium.com
This Earth Month tweet is for the birds! 🐦❤️
Protect migrating birds passing through Texas by turning off all non-essential nighttime lighting on buildings outside & inside from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night through June 15.#LightsOutTexas @TexanbyNature @AudubonTX pic.twitter.com/XjzpBukl18
— Galveston Bay Foundation (@GBayFoundation) April 3, 2022
View this post on Instagram
Conservation organizations across Texas conducted volunteer efforts in conjunction with Lights Out Texas to better understand bird-building collisions and bird-migration dynamics. Texas A&M University, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Oklahoma State University, Texan by Nature, Houston Audubon, Texas Conservation Alliance, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and Travis Audubon collaborated to develop standardized volunteer guides and training videos to guide statewide efforts.
Eleven cities and two counties across Texas made Lights Out Texas proclamations:
- City of Austin* (Spring 2022)
- City of Buda (Spring 2022)
- City of Dallas* (Spring 2022)
- City of Dripping Springs* (Perpetually)
- City of Fort Worth* (Spring 2022)
- City of Houston (Spring 2022)
- City of Kyle (Spring 2022)
- League City Texas (Spring 2022)
- City of San Marcos (Spring 2022)
- City of Wimberly (Spring 2022)
- City of Woodcreek (Spring 2022)
- Hays County (Spring 2022)
- Travis County* (Spring 2022)
*These cities made proclamations in Fall 2021 as well.
A special thank you to Heather Prestridge, Curator, Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections, Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology at Texas A&M University for providing support, expertise, and expediting permits and sub permits needed for volunteers to collect specimens and to Tania Homayoun, Ph.D, Texas Nature Trackers Biologist at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for support, expertise, and for creating an iNaturalist project for Lights Out Texas.
A big thank you goes out to the following organizations that made Lights Out Texas possible for the 2021 Spring campaign:
Lights Out Texas Founding and Coordinating Organizations
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Texas Conservation Alliance
- Perot Museum of Nature and Science
- Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections, Texas A&M University
- Houston Audubon
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Nature Trackers
- Texan by Nature
- Colorado State University
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
Lights Out Texas Supporting Organizations
- City of Austin, Office of Sustainability
- City of Dripping Springs
- Hays County Friends of the Night Sky
- Hill Country Alliance
- Travis Audubon
- Travis County
Houston & Gulf Coast
Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex
- Acton Nature Center
- Audubon Dallas
- City of Arlington
- City of Dallas, Mayor’s Office
- City of Fort Worth & Downtown Fort Worth
- City of Cedar Hill
- Dallas Zoo
- Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center
- Ellis County Master Naturalists
- Fort Worth Museum of History and Science
- Friends of Fort Worth Nature Center
- Heard Natural Science & Wildlife Sanctuary
- Trinity River Audubon Center
- University of Texas at Arlington
- Bexar Audubon Society
- International Dark Skies Association- Texas
- Mitchell Lake Audubon Center
- The Witte Museum
In 2022, the management of Lights Out Texas for Spring of 2022 was co-facilitated by Texan by Nature and Audubon Texas, with a total transition of the statewide initiative to Audubon Texas in the Summer of 2022. Learn more and see the latest Lights Out Texas Resources at tx.audubon.org/urbanconservation/lights-out-texas