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.

Lights Out Texas is a collaborative effort. Texan by Nature leads Lights Out Texas efforts across the state in collaboration with all of the organizations listed below. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology plays a critical role in providing technical guidance and mapping/alerts through BirdCast. Texas A&M University (Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (Texas Nature Trackers) provide centralized leadership for volunteer research efforts.

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…)

Lights Out Texas Overview Video

Lights Out Texas Goals

  • Increase statewide participation in Lights Out Texas at the business, local official, municipal, and community levels
  • Reduce migratory bird mortality
  • Coordinate local volunteer efforts to collect and report data

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

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. Learn more…

Birdcast

Sign Up for Birdcast Alerts

BirdCast provides live and local bird migration alerts throughout the continental US by employing real-time analysis of bird migration traffic as detected by radar. Sign up…

Lights Out Texas History

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. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Colorado State University supported these efforts and Texan by Nature helped with outreach in fall 2020. In 2021, Texan by Nature (TxN) collaborated with these organizations to lead Lights Out Texas at the statewide level in order to standardize the approach to messaging, communication, and volunteer efforts across all Texas organizations.

Lights Out Texas Spring 2021 Recap

Lights Out Texas – Spring 2021 Recap

Take a look back at our spring 2021 success stories and learn more about how to get involved this fall. Read more…

How To Participate In Lights Out Texas

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

Lights Out Texas Resources

We encourage you to use the resources below to spread the word and learn more about Lights Out Texas. Please contact info@texanbynature.org if you have questions, and/or if you are interested in setting up a meeting to learn more.

Dark Skies Resources

Thank You

A big thank you goes out to the following organizations that make Lights Out Texas possible:

Lights Out Texas Founding and Coordinating Organizations

Lights Out Texas Supporting Organizations

Learn More

To learn more about participating businesses and cities read the full Lights Out Texas Spring 2021 report and this blog post for a recap on success from Spring 2021.

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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