May & June 2014
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Lights Out Ohio:
A Partnership to Save Migratory Birds!

-James Cole

Each spring and fall, hundreds of thousands of birds migrate through Ohio. Many of them migrate at night through our cities. Unfortunately cities with their tall buildings and lots of windows are dangerous places for birds. About 550 million birds die each year from collisions with buildings or windows. Lights on tall buildings or lights aimed at the sky can disorient birds or actually attract them toward buildings.

Lights Out Ohio encourages building owners and tenants to turn off unnecessary lights during the peak migration seasons to reduce the danger to migrants passing through.
The program is supported locally by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and Metroparks of the Toledo Area.

To join the Ohio Lights Out partnership, office buildings should reduce lighting by taking as many of the following steps as possible:
• Turn off exterior decorative lighting
• Turn off interior lights or draw blinds, especially on upper floors
• Dim lobby and atrium lighting

These steps should be taken between midnight and dawn during the peak migratory periods:

• Spring: March 15 - June 1
• Fall: August 15 - October 31

Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory, calls Lights Out Ohio a “win-win” situation. “Black Swamp Bird Observatory is committed to making northwest Ohio a destination for birders around the world. One way we can do that is to show that businesses on every level are working to make the region a safe place for migratory birds as they pass though—bringing thousands of birders and millions of dollars with them. In addition to making the region safer for birds, Lights Out Ohio provides additional benefits to participating businesses, including reduced electricity bills. It’s a win-win situation that we hope the Toledo region will embrace and support.”

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