Turn Out Your Lights Tuesday Night to Help Migrating Songbirds Fly Safely Through Cincinnati

Urban light pollution is disorienting to migrating birds, who use the stars and moon for navigation

click to enlarge Migrating bird - Photo: Lights Out Cincinnati
Photo: Lights Out Cincinnati
Migrating bird

The Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati Museum Center and Cincinnati Nature Center have put out a call to all Cincinnatians to turn out their lights between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. tonight — Tuesday, April 30 — to help 11,990,000 migrating songbirds as they make their journey over the city.

Turning your lights off or down will help these birds see the stars better.

According to lightsoutcincinnati.org, "Night-migrating birds use the age-old and constant patterns of light from the moon, the stars, and from the setting sun as navigational tools to follow their migration route...Artificial, city lights interfere with this instinctive behavior and draw night-migrating birds toward brightly-lit buildings in urban areas. The danger of artificial light to migrating birds is intensified on foggy or rainy nights, when the weather further obscures the night sky, or when cloud cover is low and the birds naturally migrate at lower altitudes. Disoriented, the birds are pulled off course and into an unfamiliar maze of lighted buildings. In trying to follow their instincts, they often collide with the windows or walls of the buildings, or even with other disoriented birds."

Four-hundred-million to 1 billion birds are killed each year when they collide with windows.

Check out real-time migration maps here.

Scroll to read more Culture articles

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.