One night last October, an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 birds died in a three-block radius in downtown Philadelphia in a mass-collision event.
At night, the artificial lights of a city skyline can cause birds, who rely on the moon and the stars to find their way, to become disoriented and ultimately crash into building windows where they might see the reflection of the sky or trees. That’s why Philadelphia is taking action to prevent these collisions.
Starting on April 1, 2021, over a dozen of Philadelphia’s skyscrapers are going to be turning their lights off from midnight to 6 AM. It’s part of an initiative called Lights Out Philly whose goal is to help migrating birds pass through the city more safely.
Right now, the Comcast towers, BNY Mellon Center, the Liberty Place building, and 12 others are participating in the program, which will last through May 31. The fall season of the program will run from August 15 to November 15.
Scott Cooper, President and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences, told the Inquirer, “We are heartened by all the efforts in our community to join together in this critical initiative to save so many birds from unnecessary harm and even death. A simple thing like turning out lights can help thousands of birds safely navigate our challenging urban environment.”
As reported by AP, “Scientists estimate between 365 million and one billion birds are killed by collisions with buildings or other outdoor structures in the US every year.”
In addition to saving the birds, the initiative will also save energy and reduce carbon emissions.