NEWS
LIFESTYLE
FUNNY
WHOLESOME
INSPIRING
ANIMALS
RELATIONSHIPS
PARENTING
WORK
SCIENCE AND NATURE
About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Wholesome reason why skyscrapers of Texas are switching off their lights at night

They are saving lives by turning off all the non-essential lights at night and inspiring the world with this change.

Wholesome reason why skyscrapers of Texas are switching off their lights at night
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Sibi Mathew

Human development has disrupted ecosystems in many areas, transforming regions once occupied by flora and fauna into bustling metropolitan cities. This has led to habitat loss for animals, further disrupting the natural ecosystems of our planet. A few years back, in May of 2017, 395 migratory birds tragically died after they crashed into an office tower located in Galveston, Texas, per BBC. Animal services supervisor Josh Henderson was horrified upon arriving at the scene, witnessing many helpless birds that had lost their lives due to the skyscraper.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Peng LIU
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Peng LIU

The majority of the birds were warblers. They are small and colorful species commonly found in Texas. The little birds were on their spring migration journey that took them from nesting locations in Mexico up to Canada, according to the National Audobon Society, which is a US-based bird conservation group. Many migratory birds pass through Texas, following the Central Americas Flyway and the Mississippi Flyway during the spring season. Birds that follow the Central Americas Flyway and the Mississippi Flyway have to pass through the Lone Star State in the spring season. One of the biggest hazards that has emerged for the birds is the many bright city lights in the state.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kristina Paukshtite
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kristina Paukshtite

The incident at Galveston stands out because of the high number of fatalities. However, birds colliding with buildings is a frequent occurrence. Almost a billion birds die due to building collisions in the US, according to a paper published on BioOne. The numbers tend to increase when birds have to migrate and pass through big city centers in large groups. Interestingly enough, over 50% of these fatal crashes happen with low-rise structures. But skyscrapers also pose a major threat because they can wipe out large numbers of birds at once.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Siegfried Poepperl
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Siegfried Poepperl

The most recent incident happened in October 2023, when almost 1000 birds died when they hit a lakeside convention center located in Chicago. The building in Galveston was a big 23-floor skyscraper called One Moody Plaza. It had four corner spotlights that pointed up towards the sky and a glowing green circle of LED lights that resembled a halo at the top of the building. Henderson spoke to BBC and pointed out how the green light was visible even when someone stood seven miles away.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Joey Kyber
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Joey Kyber

This green light attracts the birds and they end up following it while they migrate. The primary reason why birds are drawn to bright lights has not been fully understood. Since they migrate at night, they probably use stars to guide them. And so, the other bright lights that have come about as a result of human development probably confuse their sense of direction. The Galveston incident has prompted some kind of solution to save the birds. There have been many successful campaigns in North America that encourage business owners to turn off non-essential lights on their buildings to help save the lives of migratory birds.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Arti Agarwal
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Arti Agarwal

Toronto has the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP), while the National Audobon Society has the Lights Out campaign in many cities and states. The most recent one, called the "Lights Out, Texas!" campaign, was started in 2020 and prompted business owners to turn off non-essential lighting from 11 pm to 6 am during the migration season. The program has been very successful in many cities across the state, especially since it is a place through which a lot of birds migrate.

More Stories on Scoop