NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Spring is in the air, and so are millions of migrating birds. Amid Nashville’s hustle and bustle, many are unaware of how many birds are flying over the city. Unfortunately, many birds are being threatened by Nashville’s quickly growing skyline.
Laura Cook, the BIRD Research Coordinator at Warner Park Nature Center, says that migrating birds collide with buildings while migrating. Many don’t make it, with over 1 billion birds dying each year from colliding with buildings, according to data.
“About 70% of birds in North America migrate,” said Cook. “And of those, about 80% of them migrate at night.”
It’s the city lights at night that are having the biggest impact on migrating birds.
Cook said urban glow confuses birds and throws them off their migration paths, “They’re flying off of their migration path, they get into these bright lit areas, and they get confused, they get exhausted, and they collide with buildings.”
“Bird Safe Nashville” is a coalition of organizations and citizens, including Cook, who want to keep birds safe and thriving as Nashville continues to grow. They are proposing that businesses and homes take a “lights out” approach during peak migration times from March through May and from August to October.
“We also have a pledge that businesses can make to turn off their lights and also homeowners that they can take to turn off their lights since it’s really simple. There’s a lot of research that shows that even turning off one room or one lit area can really make a huge difference,” said Cook.
This “lights out” initiative has a lot of local support.
“We worked with council member Burkley Allen, and she was able to get the resolution passed. And then Mayor Cooper assigned it last week on May 5,” Cook said.
You can go to birdsafenashville.org to sign the lights out pledge.