Sep 14, 2023 - News

Iowans urged to turn off lights to help birds migrate safely

A heat map showing bird migration increasing in Iowa Sept. 15

BirdCast map for the night of Sept. 15. Chart: Courtesy of BirdCast, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Millions of birds are expected to migrate through Iowa and the Midwest over the next few nights, according to the Iowa DNR.

Why it matters: Lights illuminating from our homes can make their journeys more difficult.

  • Over 80% of birds in North America migrate overnight, but light pollution from homes, businesses and sports stadiums can confuse them, resulting in fatal collisions with windows and buildings.

How you can help: Turn off your lights between 11pm and 6am.

  • If that's not an option, consider changing your light colors from cool to warm or diverting them downwards to limit pollution into the sky.

What's next: If you find an injured bird, contact a local wildlife rehabber.

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