Twice each year, billions of birds fly between wintering and breeding grounds, facing innumerable threats along the way. In North America, 70 percent of bird species migrate and, of those, 80 percent migrate at night, using the night sky to help them navigate. During the day they rely on the resources available in natural spaces to rest and refuel before taking off again the next night. Artificial light at night and skyglow around buildings can be fatal to migrating birds. Some are casualties of nighttime collisions with windows and walls. Others can circle in confusion until dawn, when they land – potentially without access to critical resources – and are subject to other urban threats.
To help birds navigate this increasingly challenging landscape, the National Audubon Society’s Bird-friendly Buildings program – part of our Bird-friendly Communities conservation strategy – is working in communities to understand and mitigate the impacts artificial light has on birds. Audubon staff and chapter leaders are partnering with cities, building managers, and other local organizations to implement Lights Out programs and solutions that minimize negative impacts and reduce excess lighting, especially during the months migrating birds are flying overhead.
Audubon is pleased to announce a new partner in the critical work of protecting the night from light pollution: the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). The two organizations are an excellent fit. Encompassed in Audubon’s mission to protect birds and the places they need is the conservation of critical habitat, including the sky, creates a natural intersection with IDA’s focus on protecting the night from artificial light.
As Audubon joins forces with IDA, we aim to expand and strengthen our efforts to return the night sky to a more natural state, creating opportunities for joint projects and collaboration among local Audubon and IDA chapters. This partnership will allow us to provide both our networks and the communities they serve with the tools and resources to protect the night sky for birds and people.