A bipartisan solution for birds
It's Sunday morning and you probably want to talk about something other than politics.
As you probably know, many birds fly south for the winter. We see them in the Texas skies every year. I remember picking up my sons and waving at the birds in years past. Soon I will repeat that with my grandsons. It's amazing to think that you are watching something that's happened for millennia. Or something that did not start in 1619.
Here in the Dallas, a group that includes former First Lady Laura Bush is trying to make it easier for our friends with wings. It's a great story:
Almost 88,000 birds flew over Dallas County between Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and 7:10 a.m. this morning, migrating south in preparation for the winter. The number of winged commuters above us peaked at 21,800 birds sometime shortly after 10 p.m., according to BirdCast, which provides migratory data on birds on a daily basis.
While we were all sleeping, Baltimore Orioles, Yellow Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and Dickcissels were among avian flyovers trying to reach warmer temperatures before colder weather sets in.
But your porch light might be throwing them off a bit, experts say. Lights from porch lights and even big buildings attract the birds, which often leads to collisions with buildings as they become disoriented, killing nearly one billion birds each year, according to the Texas Conservation Alliance.
Yesterday, the twice-yearly “Lights Out Texas” initiative kicked into gear in an effort to help all those birds complete their fall migration.
The effort was first started by Houston Audubon after a major bird collision event killed 400 migrating birds in Galveston in 2017. According to Audubon Texas and Texan By Nature, a conservation group founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, everyone is encouraged at work and home to turn off all nonessential lights from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. between Sept. 20 and Oct. 10, especially. If you can hang on a little longer and keep them off until Oct. 29, even better.
“Light pollution is a growing and underrecognized threat to birds,” Bush wrote last year. “The light emanating from cities like Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston attracts and disorients birds, leaving them confused and vulnerable. Large numbers of light-related collisions have been documented in cities across the country for decades, including here in Texas.
The city of Dallas does its part. Reunion Tower will be dimming its lights to 50 percent, along with other buildings through Oct. 10. Mayor Eric Johnson issued a proclamation in the spring declaring these twice-yearly migration periods as “Lights Out Nights” in Dallas.
How cool is that! A bipartisan solution for the birds.
Why can we come together and do something for the birds and not government spending? Maybe it's because the birds don't vote or expect Washington to support them. They just want a little help with the lights.
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