Here’s how you can go Lights Out!

Building owners, businesses, developers, and homeowners can help protect migrating birds by turning off all non-essential nighttime lighting on structures from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night.

Lighting Guidelines for EVERYONE:

  • Turn off all non-essential lights from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night during migration season.
  • Do not use landscape lighting to light up trees or gardens where birds may be resting.
  • Close blinds at night to reduce the amount of light being emitted from windows.
  • For essential lights (like security lighting) use the following dark skies friendly lighting practices:

  • Aim lights down
  • Use lighting shields to direct light downwards and to avoid light shining into the sky or trees
  • Use motion detectors and sensors so lights are only on when you need them
  • Share your support for the cause via social media and with local media, your commitment to go lights out to save birds is newsworthy.
  • Additional Guidelines for Buildings Taller Than 3 Stories:

  • Extinguish or dim: Exterior and decorative lighting (i.e. spotlights, logos, clock faces, greenhouses, and antenna lighting); lobby/atrium lighting; and lighting in perimeter rooms on all levels of the building.
  • Avoid: Floodlights; illuminating interior plants or fountains, and unoccupied floors; scheduling cleaning crews after dark; and blue-rich white light emissions (lighting with a color temperature of over 3000 Kelvin).
  • Use: Desk lamps or task lighting rather than overhead lights; blinking lighting in place of continuously burning lights; and warm light sources (less than 3000 Kelvin) for outdoor lighting.
  • With your help, we can dramatically reduce the hazards posed by light pollution in cities nationwide and allow birds to resume their typical migratory behaviors.

    Additional ideas for building owners and managers include:

    • Motivate and inform your staff and tenants
    • Explain that adopting this new practice is a win-win; saving both birds and money. 
    • Clearly identify what lights need to be turned out, and how to go about shutting them off.
    • Designate staff member(s) responsible for turning off lights and make sure they know when to do so. 

    Publish your commitment and your success to your community

    • In your establishment: Place messaging around your establishment to help your tenants understand why you decided to turn lights out during migration season. 
    • On social media and your website: Share your success and influence others to make a positive change for wildlife and energy efficiency
    • In the press: Tell a reporter! As a leading establishment in your community, your commitment to go lights out to save birds is newsworthy. Push the news out to local and regional media channels.

    Gray-cheeked Thrush. Sue Barth/Macaulay Library. eBird S39144521.