Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring 2011 Lights Out for Birds

BOMA San Francisco Members:

From dusk and until dawn, for the duration of the spring bird migration, building owners, managers and tenants in San Francisco are being asked to turn off unnecessary lights or close drapes, draw blinds or pull shades to help reduce the incidences of collisions that kill approximately 1 billion birds in North America each year.

In 2008, San Francisco partnered with Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Golden Gate Audubon Society to become one of the first cities to implement a Lights Out program.  The program, which kicks off this week, focuses on voluntary guidelines and recommendations for building owners and operators to turn off lights or draw window coverings during the migration period from February 15 – April 30 of each year and again from August 15 through October 31 for the fall migration. Participants conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions, and save birds.

 “Lights Out for Birds” is a simple, sensible way for people to help birds just by turning off lights or drawing shades,” said Michael Lynes, Conservation Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. “Collisions with windows, lit buildings and towers, and other manmade structures kill nearly 1 billion birds each year, including many migratory birds whose populations are already suffering significant declines. The program is a way for people living and working in San Francisco to make a positive contribution to bird conservation while saving energy and money.”

This spring over 250 species of birds will migrate through the Bay Area, some of which fly from South and Central America all the way to the Arctic tundra. Most migrate at night and use the stars and moon to navigate, which leaves them prone to being attracted by bright lights on tall buildings and communication towers. Some birds are compelled to fly toward the lights, resulting in confusion, exhaustion, injury and sometimes death.

Anyone can participate merely be turning off unnecessary lights and drawing shades for lit rooms. Buildings owners and operators are encouraged to contact the San Francisco Department of the Environment for Energy Watch incentives and retrofits and their PG&E representatives for more information.

About Golden Gate Audubon

Golden Gate Audubon has been dedicated to protecting Bay Area birds, other wildlife, and their natural habitat since 1917. We conserve and restore wildlife habitat, connect people of all ages and backgrounds with the natural world, and educate and engage Bay Area residents in the protection of our shared, local environment. Golden Gate Audubon is sustained by contributions from 10,000 members and supporters throughout San Francisco and the East Bay.

Contact and for more information:
  • Mike Lynes – Golden Gate Audubon, (510) 843-6551, 
  • Mark Westlund – S.F. Dept. of the Environment, (415) 355-3714, 
  • Joe Molica – Pacific Gas & Electric Company, (415) 973-5930,

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