Press Release

Lights Out To Protect Birds

Illustration reprinted with permission from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Learn more and see when bird migration is happening in your area, with forecasts and real-time bird migration maps at

During fall bird migration, which is peaking from now until November 3in the Fairfax County area, hundreds of millions of birds are expected to fly overhead. Did you know that artificial light–whether from tall buildings or residences– attracts and disorients migrating birds, confusing and exhausting them as well as making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings? Hundreds of millions of birds die in collisions with buildings annually, including many species of high conservation concern.

Turning off or dimming non-essential lighting during critical migration periods drastically reduces bird deaths. Type your town’s name into BirdCast’s local migration alert tool to see how many birds are expected to fly over your area on any given night. If the tool indicates migration is expected to be “High,” please consider turning off any nonessential lights that would be visible to birds, including outdoor lights and those in tall office buildings.

Lights Out efforts are underway in over 30 North American cities. If you are concerned about safety in regard to outdoor lights, see this information from the International Dark Sky Association.

BirdCast applies weather surveillance radar to gather information on the numbers, flight directions, speeds, and altitudes of birds aloft in order to expand the understanding of migratory bird movement. Visit the BirdCast Migration Dashboard to explore migration in Fairfax County–or explore other counties and states around the contiguous United States.


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