How can you help migrating birds across the state? Turn off your lights

Bird experts say that the U.S. bird population is declining rapidly, here is how you can help

KSAT file photo.
KSAT file photo. (Pixabay)

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says that businesses and homeowners around the state can help migrant birds with a simple step: Turn off your lights.

🐦 CALLING ALL TEXANS! Help protect migrating birds this spring by turning out all non-essential lights from 11 pm - 6 am...

Posted by Texas Parks and Wildlife on Sunday, April 18, 2021

Unfortunately, the department reported, the U.S. bird populations are declining rapidly. The department says the population has dropped off an estimated one out of every 4 birds since 1970.

The department says that an estimated one billion U.S. bird deaths occur annually from collisions with buildings and structures, with migratory species at the most risk.

Why does this happen?

The birds are both attracted and easily disoriented due to excess light pollution in urban areas.

Why does this matter?

According to the department, birds are big business in the state.

In the Rio Grande Valley alone, Texas A&M University found that nature tourism – which is dominated by bird watching – contributes $300 million to the economy and supports 4,407 full and part-time jobs annually.

According to the department, the state is globally important for birds. One of every three birds migrating through the U.S. in spring and one out of every four birds migrating through the U.S. in the fall, or nearly two billion birds, pass through Texas.

How can you help?

If you wanna make a big difference in the life of a migrating bird and in future generations of birds, you can start by turning off all non-essential nighttime lighting on buildings and other structures from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each day.

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About the Author:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.