Bright lighting in urban centers can disrupt planetary night sky cues causing fatal collisions with buildings, and it is estimated that between 365 and 988 million birds are killed by collisions each year in the United States.
Many species of birds migrate at night, guided in part by starfields and lunar paths. Unfortunately, bright lighting in urban centers can disrupt these cues causing fatal collisions with buildings, and it is estimated that between 365 and 988 million birds are killed by collisions each year in the United States (Loss et al. 2014). With support from a wide range of partners, the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative has created a statewide network to help address this threat to migratory bird populations.
Cleveland and surrounding areas south of Lake Erie likely present additional challenges, as they comprise a unique and globally important region for migratory stopover. This spring and fall, OBCI, the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Metroparks, and a flock of dedicated volunteers canvassed downtown Cleveland during early mornings to search for injured birds. To date, more than 850 birds have been recovered with just over 300 successfully rehabilitated and released.
Volunteers are also collecting important information associated with each recovered bird at the site of detection, including weather, time and date, precise location, aspect of building, building surface, as well as species, age, and sex of each bird. We hope that this effort will elucidate additional factors related to building collisions. The ultimate goal of Lights Out Cleveland—and the other efforts under Ohio Lights Out—is to reduce the number of bird-building collisions. Buildings enrolled in the program are eliminating or reducing their lighting during migration, and helping us to get others involved.
If you are interested in enrolling a building in Lights Out, or helping our volunteers, visit ohiolightsout.org or contact Matthew Shumar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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