Lights Out Texas

Lights Out Texas

Indigo Bunting

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.

HOW IT STARTED:

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. 

In 2021, Texan by Nature 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. Learn more and see the latest Lights Out Texas Resources at tx.audubon.org/urbanconservation/lights-out-texas 

“Every Texan can participate in protecting our feathered friends by simply turning off their lights at night…Taking action now is vital because every spring and fall, between a third and a quarter of all birds migrating at night through the United States, travel through Texas.”

-Former First Lady and Texan by Nature Founder, Laura Bush (Read the full op-ed…)

WHEN TO GO LIGHTS OUT:

Fall Migration Dates*

  • Full Fall Migration Period: August 15 – November 30
  • Critical Fall Peak Migration Period: September 5 – October 29

Spring Migration Dates*

  • Full Spring Migration Period: March 1 – June 15
  • Critical Spring Peak Migration Period: April 19 – May 7

*Please note that migration dates vary from year to year. Visit the Audubon Texas website for the latest dates.

Key Timing

We encourage everyone to turn off non-essential lights at night from 11 pm – 6 am during the full fall and spring migration periods, and where conflicts apply, prioritize lights out during the critical peak migration periods.

HOW TO GO LIGHTS OUT:

Guidelines for Everyone

  • Turn off all non-essential lights from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night during migration season.
  • Do not use landscape lighting to light up trees or gardens where birds may be resting.
  • For essential lights (like security and safety lighting) use the following dark skies friendly lighting practices:
    • Aim lights down;
    • Use lighting shields to direct light downwards and avoid light shining into the sky or trees;
    • Use motion detectors and sensors so lights are only on when you need them;
    • Close blinds at night to reduce the amount of light being emitted from windows.
    • You can find examples of dark skies friendly lighting from the International Dark Sky Association and additional guidance and language regarding dark skies from the McDonald Observatory’s dark skies resources and recommended lighting practices.
  • If you own or manage a building, consider the following for custodial services:
    • Consider adjusting custodial schedules to end by 11:00 PM.
    • Ask custodial staff to ensure that lights are off after they finish their work.

Additional Guidelines for Buildings Taller Than 3 Stories

  • Extinguish or dim:
    • Exterior and decorative lighting (i.e. spotlights, logos, clock faces, greenhouses, and antenna lighting);
    • lobby/atrium lighting;
    • lighting in perimeter rooms on all levels of the building.
  • Avoid:
    • Floodlights,
    • Illuminating interior plants or fountains,
    • Illuminating unoccupied floors,
    • Lights with blue-rich white light emissions (lighting with a color temperature of over 3000 Kelvin).
  • Use:
    • Desk lamps or task lighting rather than overhead lights,
    • Blinking lighting in place of continuously burning lights,
    • Warm light sources (less than 3000 Kelvin) for outdoor lighting

RESOURCES

2021-2022 REPORTS:

Related Articles

Texan By Nature Blog August 16, 2021

Travis County Goes Lights Out for Migratory Birds

Texan By Nature Blog July 28, 2021

Lights Out Texas – Spring 2021 Recap

Texan By Nature Blog April 22, 2021

American Campus Communities Joins Lights Out Texas

Texan By Nature Blog April 12, 2021

Lights Out Texas: How It All Started

The Dallas Morning News March 14, 2021

Laura Bush: What each Texan can do to help migrating birds

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