a simple solution.

Each year, millions of birds are killed or injured in North America
as a result of impacting tall buildings at full speed.
This is largely due to city lights that lure migrating
birds causing them to become disoriented. Once in an
unfamiliar urban environment, they fatally collide with
the tall downtown buildings. In daylight, surviving birds
regularly impact windows because the transparency of glass creates the
illusion of safe passage.

In most cities, including Wilmington, tall buildings are illuminated every night throughout the year. Exterior signage and architectural lighting compound the problem. Realizing that there are instances when interior lighting is part of the building’s emergency system, Lights Out! Wilmington is simply asking building owners and tenants to consider a different strategy that will spare the lives of thousands of birds. In the process, thousands of dollars in energy costs and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can also be realized.

Why birds crash into buildings:
Most birds migrate during the evening and nighttime hours because there are fewer predators to attack them and the fact that they use the stars to navigate. Winds are also usually calmer during the night allowing birds to use less energy – energy they will need to complete their long migration. Unfortunately, birds will be attracted by the glow of city lights and confused by brightly lit buildings, hitting the structures at speeds fast enough to kill them instantly. On cloudy nights when the evening sky is hidden from view, birds are even more likely to be lured by the lights and circle buildings endlessly, confused and disoriented, until they fall out of the sky from sheer exhaustion. Of the birds that survive until daylight, many impact windows because the transparency of the glass combined with reflections of the surroundings create the illusion of safe passage.

Renowned bird expert, David Sibley (author of The Sibley Guide to Birds) estimates that between 97 million to nearly 1 billion birds die each year in North America alone from impacting windows, especially those in tall buildings. This grim statistic outdistances all other causes of avian death.


Be a part of Lights Out! Wilmington.
Sign up your building, office or apartment and make a difference in the life of migratory birds and the environment.