The 2023 Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) is on Sunday, December 31, 2023. Yes, this…
Lane Audubon is pleased to launch our Lights Out Campaign. Mayor Lucy Vinis has signed on for the city with a proclamation that encourages community members to reduce unnecessary light at night. Artificial light at night has been shown to be deadly to birds and insect pollinators. In addition, it deleteriously impacts human health and wastes energy. This proclamation recognizes the devastating effect of artificial light on birds, pollinators, and human health, and outlines the steps we can take to make a difference. FMI: City of Eugene, Lights Out Eugene.
North America’s bird population has declined 30 percent since the 1970s. Every spring and fall, millions of birds migrate through Oregon at night. Light pollution is known to disorient birds, causing death by exhaustion and building collisions. An estimated one billion birds die annually from building collisions alone. Similarly, pollinators attracted to artificial light sources may fail to pollinate, and become easy prey for nocturnal insectivores. This negatively impacts agriculture, as approximately 80 percent of our flowers and 40 percent of our crops are pollinated by native insects, one third of which are threatened with extinction. Artificial light at night is one major cause of this decline. While most people may not consider light pollution hazardous to humans, studies have linked it to disruptions in melatonin secretion, sleep disorders, and an increased risk of diabetes, depression, and breast cancer.
Lights Out offers simple steps we can all take, as a community, to improve our environment. Eugene now joins more than 45 cities with a Lights Out program, which has been shown to decrease bird mortality by 70 percent. Plus, there’s no downside. Multiple research studies show no causal relationship between reduced lighting and increased rates of crime. We hope community members will reduce the use of decorative and unnecessary lighting throughout the year and take actions to further reduce light spill each night of the critical migration periods. Periods of reduced light, from September through October and April through June, between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am, help ensure safe passage for migratory birds.
Lights Out programs help reduce the impacts of light pollution on birds, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, plants, and mammals, including humans. They also save energy and money, reduce our carbon emissions and preserve our view of the night sky. We are asking residents, businesses, and building owners to Take the Pledge and do a simple lighting audit.
• Turn off unnecessary and decorative lighting
• Make sure that outside lights are aimed down and are well-shielded
• Install motion sensors or timers so that lights are on only when needed
• Choose warm bulbs (under 3,000 Kelvins; closer to 2,000 is better) with negligible blue light
• During migration seasons, draw blinds or curtains to reduce light spill
• Turn off lights before leaving home or the office
Taking the Pledge for sensible lighting helps make our region safer and healthier for wildlife and humans, while raising awareness about the growing impact that light pollution has on the world around us. Pledge participants will receive a window cling to help spread the word and to show commitment to saving birds and energy.