Target: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Goal: Applaud the state’s commitment to dimming its lights in order to save the lives of migrating birds
Millions of birds migrate through the State of New York each spring and autumn. They face many dangers, from unpredictable weather to starvation and predators. Yet perhaps the greatest threat to their survival is light: specifically the bright outdoor lights that make up city skylines. These lights can distract the birds, causing them to crash into buildings and plummet to their deaths. Others become confused, flying in circles until they exhaust themselves. Nearly one billion birds die as a result of this “fatal light attraction” each year in the United States alone, reports BBC.
Local birds navigate around the buildings with greater familiarity, while migrating species are more vulnerable to the lights’ distraction. The Audubon Society started the Lights Out program to help save the lives of these migratory birds. From its humble beginnings the program now involves dozens of cities including Chicago and San Fransisco. Now New York State has stepped up to the challenge, committed to dimming or turning off non-essential lights in its state-run buildings during peak migration season.
“This is a simple step to help protect these migrating birds that make their home in New York’s forests, lakes and rivers,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo in a recent statement. The move will prevent many needless deaths and conserve energy at the same time: a real win-win for the environment.
Applaud Governor Cuomo for his commitment the survival of precious migratory birds, and for participating in the Lights Out program.
Dear Governor Cuomo,
While New York City is famed for its skyline, brightly lit tall buildings can mean death for wildlife. Local birds tend to learn safe flight paths, but the millions of birds migrating through your state each year struggle to avoid collisions and disorientation. “Fatal light attraction” contributes to millions of bird deaths every year, many of them in your state.
People following the migrating flocks along the Atlantic Flyway can observe hundreds of species, which makes birding a major draw in New York. Through the protection of critical habitat and participation in programs like Lights Out you are helping ensure that both wildlife and eco-tourism can thrive.
I applaud you, Governor Cuomo, for your decision to have New York take part in the Audubon Society’s Lights Out program. This strategy has proven successful, and its expansion across the State of New York is worthy of celebration. Dimming non-essential lights between 11pm and dawn during peak migration season will save the lives of geese, wrens, hummingbirds, sparrows and warblers to name but a few.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: US Army Corps of Engineers via Wikimedia Commons