PROJECT SAFE PASSAGE
The Washtenaw Audubon Society supports Project Safe Passage:
Millions of migratory birds die each year due to collisions with buildings. Because most songbirds migrate at night, lights from the urban areas and these buildings can disrupt the birds’ navigation system. The birds are attracted to the light and can become confused by it. Sometimes they crash into the lit buildings; other times, the lights disorient the birds and cause them to circle around and around, until they ultimately perish from exhaustion. Project Safe Passage and the Washtenaw Audubon Society asks residents, owners and managers of buildings that are five stories or higher to help birds survive by turning off lights (or drawing curtains/ blinds) above the fourth floor between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. every night during Spring and Fall.
The critical migration danger periods for Spring and Fall migrations are:
March 15 through May 31 and
August 15 though October 31.
Research in Chicago has shown that turning out lights in one well-lit building during the specified hours saved 8,000 birds annually, decreasing the number of dead birds by 80%. Turning out the lights saves energy and money. In one New York City building, turning off lights from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. saved over $21,000 in annual costs.
Property owners of tall buildings are encouraged to join the Safe Passages Great Lakes efforts by turning off their lights or closing window shades and drapes at night. Individuals who live or work at night in buildings with five floors or higher and who wish to minimize fatal light problems can also help.
- Use blinds and curtains to conceal lighted areas if working after 11 p.m. during Safe Passages Great Lakes days;
- Use desk lamps and task lighting to minimize perimeter lighting;
- Re-schedule night work, such as arrange for custodial services in tall buildings to work from the top down so the upper floor lights are off from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. (dawn); and
- Establish interior working areas for night activities.