Twice per year, in the spring and fall, millions of songbirds migrate between North America and Central/South America. The majority of birds migrate at night, using cues from the night sky to assist with navigation. On peak migration nights, over 3 million birds will fly over Asheville.
Light pollution emitted from the human built environment is detrimental to migratory songbirds. The light pollution draws songbirds into cities and neighborhoods, where they face a host of threats (i.e., window collisions, cat predation, etc). In fact, window collisions claim the lives of up to 1 BILLION birds in the United States every year! Feral and domestic cat predation claim the lives of up to 4 BILLION birds within the same range and time period. While we appreciate sharing our communities with feathered friends, and strive to keep them safe for birds (i.e, using window treatments, keeping cats indoors, etc), we want to ensure that those destined for more northern breeding grounds have safe passage as they fly over Asheville during their migration.
Reducing light pollution is one of the easiest things that we can do to grant them safe passage. Join the Lights Out! Asheville Program by taking the following actions between 11pm-6am during the spring and fall:
-Turn off unnecessary outdoor lighting at night
-Use motion sensors and down-shields for outdoor lighting that cannot be turned off at night
-Use warm temperature LED bulbs in ALL outdoor lighting fixtures
-Close curtains/blind/shades at night and use task lighting to prevent light leakage
-Spread the word about the program and why it is important!
Last February (2022), Asheville signed a proclamation that designates March-May and August-November as "Migratory Bird Awareness Months", committing to taking action to reduce light pollution emitted from city-owned buildings. We applaud the City for taking meaningful action to protect birds, but we also recognize that city-owned buildings are not the only structures emitting light pollution. The success of this program is dependent on community participation. That means you!
For more information, visit www.birdsafeavl.org
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