Why New York Government Buildings Are Going Dark this Spring
As the season changes, our days are getting longer, the sun is feeling warmer, and government buildings all across New York State are going dark. One of these "spring things" is not like the others.
Luckily, this isn't a response to budget cuts, nor is it the government's attempt to save money on their Central Hudson bill, but rather a move to help save nearly 1 billion animals. As a New York resident, you can help too.
Spring Bird Migration in New York
It's spring migration time for many of the United State's native birds, and artificial lights from buildings, street lamps, and even home security lights can cause big problems for night-flying birds. From the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC):
Each year... many birds that navigate the night sky become disoriented from artificial building lighting. Not only does city lighting interfere with migrating birds' navigation, but it also leads to an increase in fatal building collisions, killing an estimated 1 billion birds each year.
Turning Off Lights for Bird Safety in New York State
The NYS DEC continued by sharing that during spring (and fall) migratory seasons, state-owned and operated buildings have committed to turning off "non-essential" lighting from 11 PM to dawn each day. New York residents are encouraged to take part as well with some simple action items.
Read More: Watch the Live Peregrine Falcon Nest Camera on Mid-Hudson Bridge
The first is the most simple: turn off all exterior lights on your property after 11 PM and attempt to make your windows as non-reflective as possible by adding screens or even non-reflective film. If security lights are necessary, the NYS DEC adds that installing floodlights facing downward from a higher angle is more bird-friendly than lights installed at ground-level that face upwards.
While countless numbers of birds will be flying through our skies on migration paths, there are plenty of fascinating feathered friends that live in the Hudson Valley all year long, including the bald eagle. Check out some action-packed shots of eagles fighting for food over the Hudson River below, and keep scrolling to see the best places to spot them for yourself.