Ohio Lights Out

bunting_collisionEvery spring and fall, millions of birds migrate through Ohio on their way to or from their breeding grounds. Many birds migrate at night, and lights on tall buildings or aimed at the sky can disorient them and draw them into the buildings. This causes many birds to strike windows or circle buildings until they fall from exhaustion.

Building collisions are a leading cause of bird fatality during migration in North America, estimated to kill 550 million birds each year. The goal of Ohio Lights Out is to reduce the number of birds killed by flying into buildings and windows in Ohio.

The Ohio Lights Out campaign is an innovative approach to bird conservation, as it could significantly reduce bird collision deaths, as well as assist building owners and managers to decrease their energy costs. The Lights Out Chicago program reported an 80% reduction in collisions at a building following a reduction in nighttime lighting, while Lights Out Wilmington estimated savings of $6,000 per year for a 20-story building participating in the Lights Out program.

Buildings that enroll in Ohio Lights Out pledge to reduce lighting by taking as many of the following steps as possible:
  • Turn off exterior decorative lighting
  • Dim lobby and atrium lighting
  • Turn off interior lights or draw blinds, especially on upper floors

These steps should be taken during the peak migratory periods for Ohio:

  • Between midnight and dawn
  • Fall: August 15 to October 31
  • Spring: March 15 to June 1
Through Ohio Lights Out, OBCI and our partners work with managers at enrolled buildings to adapt the building’s current lighting scheme to reduce dangers to nocturnally migrating birds, while maintaining the building’s safety standards and aesthetic beauty.  OBCI is working with partners across the state to expand the Ohio Lights Out program to additional metro areas. Regional branches of the program are now underway in Columbus, Toledo, Cleveland, and Dayton.

lightsoutlogoLights Out Columbus

In 2012, OBCI partnered with the Grange Insurance Audubon Center to establish Lights Out Columbus.  Today, 27 buildings are participating in the program by pledging to reduce lighting during peak migratory seasons.

Lights Out Cleveland

With support from The Cleveland Museum of Natural HistoryLake Erie Nature and Science Center, Cleveland Metroparks, and the Akron Zoo, the Lights Out program has expanded throughout Cleveland in 2017.

MVLogoLights Out Miami Valley

In partnership with Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm and with support from Five Rivers MetroParks, Dayton Building Owners and Managers Association, The Dayton Foundation, Brukner Nature Center, Partners for the Environment, and other local partners, OBCI launched a lights out program in the Dayton region in Spring 2015. To see a list of currently enrolled buildings, click here. The program kicked off in March 2015 with a luncheon for downtown building managers. More than a dozen attendees met at The Dayton Racquet Club at the top of Dayton’s tallest building, Kettering Tower. The program included information about bird migration and the steps building managers can take to protect migrating birds.

BirdFriendlyToledoLogoBird-Friendly Toledo

With major support from Black Swamp Bird Observatory, we are currently in the planning phases of a program in Toledo.


To learn more about Ohio Lights Out, including how to enroll a building in the program, please visit www.OhioLightsOut.org.