Birds have a problem. In fact, a lot of nature is having the problem from the smallest of insects to creatures that slink through the night.
“Millions of birds migrate across Texas every spring and every fall,” Soll Sussman, communications team leader for the Lights Out Hays County coalition, said. “Lights can distract them and disorient them and in some cases kill them… It is important to save as many as we can. Bird populations and insect populations are declining and light pollution plays a big part in those declines.”
Spring bird migration is heading toward its peak nights, and the Lights Out Hays County coalition is working to help protect the billions of birds migrating through Texas.
Migration this spring lasts from March 1 through June 15. During that time migration hits its peak between April 22 and May 12.
Lights Out Hays County is encouraging everyone to turn off non-essential lights at night during this migration period. Specifically, they are asking for lights out between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Where conflicts apply, try to prioritize lights out during the critical peak. Although using light responsibly matters every night from sunset to sunrise for many reasons, it is especially important during spring and fall bird migrations.
“There is a demonstrated time period when these birds are flying,” Sussman said. “There is an urgency. We do point out that birds start flying within about a half hour of dusk. If you can, it is not a bad idea to follow the five principals of outdoor lighting all night ever night not just during mirgration. Light pollution causes problems year round, but it is particularly pertinent and relevant in this bird migration season.”
The 11 p.m. advisory is suggested to make the campaign more palatable to certain businesses. Bird migration actually starts within a half hour of dusk, so it makes sense to keep unnecessary outdoor lighting turned off – all night and all year. You can learn about the five principles of responsible outdoor lighting at idatexas.org/common-sense-solutions-resources/.
Among the advocates that have been joined the Hays County coalition in support of the statewide effort are Hays County, City of Dripping Springs, City of Buda, City of Kyle, City of San Marcos, City of Wimberley and City of Woodcreek.
Also supporting the campaign are Hays County Master Naturalists, Hays County Friends of the Night Sky, Wimberley Valley Dark Sky Committee, Vista Brewing, Wild Birds Unlimited of Dripping Springs, Beerburg Brewing, Huth Avian, San Marcos Bluebonnet Lions Club, Mystic River Ranch, Wimberley Birding Society, Wild Spirit Wild Places Foundation and the Meadows Center.
Lights Out Texas is facilitated and led by Audubon Texas. Lights Out Texas is a campaign of education, awareness, and action that aims to raise awareness of the risk light pollution poses to birds.
To learn more about the Lights Out, Hays County campaign, visit the coalition’s web page at https:// bit.ly/LightsOutHays.