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Pittsburgh joins Lights Out movement to protect birds

Pittsburgh
The Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet in Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River. Photo courtesy BOMA Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is the latest big city to join the national Lights Out Initiative to mitigate bird window collisions and disorientation of birds caused by bright artificial light in the city at night.

On Thursday, a group of organizations that includes the Building Owners and Managers Association of Pittsburgh, BNY Mellon, BirdSafe Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, and the National Aviary announced their participation in Lights Out, a voluntary program that encourages building owners and tenants to turn off as much internal and external building lighting as possible at night, particularly lights on upper floors and lobbies.

Households can also participate in Pittsburgh’s Lights Out program. This initiative is timed strategically to coincide with the peak of bird migration, which occurs in the fall and spring.

The first Lights Out Pittsburgh launched September 1, when migratory birds are heading south to their wintering grounds. BNY Mellon, Carnegie Science Center, Eleven Stanwix, House Building, Law & Finance Building, Point Park University, Union Trust Building, United Steelworkers’ Building, 100 Ross, 20 Stanwix, 600 Waterfront and other buildings will be participating by turning off unnecessary lighting from midnight to 6 a.m. This initiative runs through November 15, and businesses and households can take the pledge to turn their lights out at any point during the migration season.

Documentation ongoing

“BOMA Pittsburgh is pleased to be a supporter of the Lights Out Pittsburgh initiative. Turning down the lights in our member buildings will not only protect countless birds, but also save energy and reduce carbon emissions to help meet the city’s goal of a 50% reduction in energy use in Pittsburgh by 2030,” says Amanda Schaub, executive director for BOMA Pittsburgh.

For years, volunteers with BirdSafe Pittsburgh have conducted monitoring in the downtown area during the migration seasons, collecting data to document bird fatalities, and to provide care for birds with injuries sustained from window collisions. BirdSafe Pittsburgh will document the progress made on reducing bird mortality resulting from the Lights Out initiative. Information on volunteering is available at birdsafepgh.org.

“This exciting initiative will further the research of BirdSafe Pittsburgh and save numerous migrating birds as they make their journey south for the fall and winter months,” says Jonathan Rice, Urban Bird Conservation Coordinator, BirdSafe Pittsburgh and Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

For more information about the area’s Lights Out initiative, visit birdsafepgh.org.

Thanks to the National Aviary for providing this news.

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