Every spring and fall, millions of birds migrate through Ohio on their way between their breeding and overwintering grounds. Most species of songbirds migrate at night, and lights on tall buildings or aimed at the sky can disorient them and draw them into buildings. This causes many birds to strike windows or circle buildings until they fall from exhaustion. A recent study estimated that as many as 1 billion birds die each year in the United States from building collisions.
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 Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo.
To learn more about Ohio Lights Out, including how to enroll a building in the program, please visit OhioLightsOut.org.