Mayor Eric Johnson proclaims “Lights Out Nights” in Dallas to help bird migration

DALLAS — Mayor Eric Johnson is urging residents and businesses to turn out non-essential lights at night during a critical migratory period for birds in the United States.

Light pollution, prominent in major metropolitan areas, threatens birds migrating throughout the country. To raise awareness as part of the Lights Out Texas initiative led by former First Lady Laura Bush, Mayor Johnson issued a proclamation declaring all nights through Oct. 10 as “Lights Out Nights” in Dallas.

“The spectacular downtown Dallas skyline has been noticeably darker on recent nights as part of the Lights Out efforts in our city,” Mayor Johnson said. “I am strongly encouraging residents and business owners across our city to join in this important initiative by turning off their non-essential lights by 11 p.m. and keeping them off until 6 a.m. Doing so will play a big part in helping to keep our wildlife safe and to conserve energy.”

Here is the full text of the proclamation:

WHEREAS, every spring and fall, nearly two billion birds travel through the State of Texas. This number represents between a quarter and a third of all birds migrating throughout the United States; and

WHEREAS, it is important to recognize this massive migration of birds occurs at night; and

WHEREAS, these birds must contend with a rapidly increasing but still under-recognized threat: light pollution. Light attracts and disorients these migrating birds, confusing them and making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings and other urban threats. More than one billion birds die in collisions with buildings in the United States annually, according to Lights Out Texas; and

WHEREAS, the extensive and intense light pollution from Texas cities, combined with the enormous bird migration, creates a particularly hazardous environment. In one study, Dallas ranked No. 3 of the 125 most populous American cities for exposing migrating birds to light pollution; and

WHEREAS, the City of Dallas is a community that cares about protecting wildlife and the environment. Dallas is recognized as one of the four cities certified as a “Bird City” by Texas Parks and Wildlife; and

WHEREAS, Dallas is joining an international Lights Out effort by proposing and implementing a simple solution to protect birds: turning off non-essential lighting during critical migration periods. Turning off non-essential lights dramatically reduces hazards to migrating birds, allowing them to safely proceed with their journeys; and

WHEREAS, with each passing season, light pollution continues to increase, and more birds are at risk; and

WHEREAS, Lights Out Texas is a statewide initiative that aims to raise awareness of this issue and is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Dallas-based Texas Conservation Alliance, and former First Lady, Dallasite, and founder of Texan By Nature, Laura Bush; and

WHEREAS, residents and business owners are encouraged to help protect birds by turning off all non-essential lighting in downtown Dallas and beyond during the critical bird migration period, which is between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from September 29th until October 10th, 2020.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ERIC JOHNSON, Mayor of the City of Dallas, do hereby proclaim the period of September 29th through October 10th, 2020 as Lights Out Nights in Dallas, Texas.