State buildings participating in Lights Out will keep non-essential outdoor lighting from affecting the ability of birds to migrate successfully throughout New York.
New York State Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “Migrating birds face many dangerous obstacles during their long journeys each year. Reducing excessive outdoor lighting on buildings is an easy and sensible step we can take to minimize those threats. Team OGS encourages everyone to learn what they can do to help ensure safe seasonal bird migration throughout New York State.”
Many species of shorebirds and songbirds rely on constellations to help them navigate to and from their summer breeding grounds through the State. Excessive outdoor lighting, especially in adverse weather conditions, can cause these migrating birds to become disoriented, a phenomenon known as fatal light attraction. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it has led to collisions with windows, walls, floodlights, or the ground and the death of an estimated 500 million to one billion birds annually in the United States.
“Lights Out” directs State-owned and managed buildings to turn off non-essential outdoor lighting from 11 p.m. to dawn during the spring migration through May 31 and also during the peak fall migration, August 15 through November 15. State agencies will also be encouraged to draw blinds, when possible, and turn off non-essential indoor lighting during “Lights Out” times. In addition to benefiting migrating birds, Lights Out promotes sustainability and provides a cost-savings to the State.