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July 5, 2011

Let There Be Night: Creating Friendlier Skies for Migrating Birds

Follow these tips to keep birds in the dark

All Animals magazine

  • Rebecca Hallenbeck/The HSUS.

by Ruthanne Johnson

Home Habits: Use lower-intensity bulbs and task lighting in work areas, and avoid illuminating indoor plants and fountains. Close blinds in lit rooms; if doing so increases reflectivity, place window treatments designed to prevent bird strikes on the outside glass. Spread the word to friends and neighbors: “So many bird deaths are happening in ones and twos and threes in homes,” says Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy. “It’s the hardest thing to tackle because you have to get to each of those homes individually.” 

Outdoor Options: Install motion-activated lights; they’re actually more effective for deterring criminals, Sheppard says. If constant night light is necessary, use downward-casting fixtures and install timers. Eliminate or minimize unnecessary lighting, and avoid red, white, and yellow lights in favor of bird-friendly green and blue.

Office Etiquette: If you work in a multi-tenant building, talk to the building’s owner or manager. “If all the tenants were to go to their building manager and say, ‘I want you to stop bird deaths,’ ” change would occur, says FLAP’s Michael Mesure. Encourage scheduling cleaning crews during daylight hours, using dim or no lighting in lobbies after hours, and keeping upper floors as dark as possible. Minimize lights in perimeter rooms and ask coworkers to close blinds when working late. Avoid decorative or rooftop lighting at night, especially between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Make your windows bird-safe »

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