Should Boise Become a ‘Lights Out’ City?
Maybe your home can be 'Lights Out' too.
Each year, we see billions of birds moving across the nation. This bird migration happens twice. Birds relocate to the south for warmer weather in the fall and they make their way to the north for cooler weather in the spring.
Well, maybe we don't actually see them migrating because they do it at night.
According to Audubon, these miraculous creatures prefer to travel at night because of the stars. They actually use the night sky to navigate. Isn't that incredible? There's just one little problem...
See, we humans are not made to be out at night. Our eyes are not equipped with night vision, we tend to sleep during this time, and we are relatively afraid of things that go bump in the night. However, we have found a way to operate in the overnight hours by using light. Lots and lots of light, especially in more heavily populated areas and big cities.
This is problematic for the birds.
Our lights can disorient them or create an artificial glow in the sky that confuses them. This can cause them to collide with buildings or other "urban threats." It also makes for a very long, very exhausting journey that can also leave them vulnerable. For instance, if they're late getting south before the first freeze, they could get stuck in weather they're not equipped for.
This is why several cities have become Lights Out cities. These cities have made a promise to eliminate non-essential light at night to cut down on our light pollution. Boise has not yet made that commitment.
Getting birds from point A to point B during these migrations is key. As is preventing as many deaths of these birds as possible. One report states that 29 percent of the bird population has been wiped out since 1970 due to urban influences like buildings.
Nearly 45 cities across the country have pledged to do Lights Out Nights. Each of these cities are in migratory paths of various birds and have pledged to keep their light usage at night to a minimum.
This is something you can do at home too.
Simply turn off any lights that aren't necessary when it gets dark. Think of all the money you'll save on electricity! Not to mention the sleep you'll get when you don't have a porch light streaming into your bedroom.