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Doylestown Township joins Lights Out to protect birds

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Doylestown Township is the latest community to join a nationwide effort to reduce the number of deaths of migrating birds caused by light pollution.

The Lights Out Program encourages residents and business owners to turn off or dim exterior and interior lighting from Aug. 15 to Nov. 15, and again from April 1 to May 31, the township recently announced.

From 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. during those months, the public is asked to limit or eliminate the outdoor light their homes and businesses emit. Lighting with orange or red bulbs can also be helpful, if turning off lighting isn’t possible, according to the program.

By joining Lights Out, the township is supporting the Atlantic Flyway, one of the country’s four migration flyways. Many species of birds typically follow the paths that provide them opportunities to rest and refuel on their long journeys.

In a recent study, the American Ornithological Society estimated between 100 million and 1 billion birds are killed in the U.S. every year due to collisions with buildings. Most songbirds migrate at night and light pollution is “disruptive and harmful,” according to the AOS. Birds are attracted to bright lights on large buildings, in the same way moths are drawn to the porch lights, the AOS said.

“Doylestown Township wishes to aid in the reduction of these preventable deaths,” officials said in a statement. “By participating in this program, (the township) will help ensure that one of nature’s greatest wonders continues unimpeded and that birds can continue their journey in the sky smoothly.”

The township joins 50 cities, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, as well as Doylestown Borough, in the program.

Even the exterior lights of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis go dark throughout September. About 40% of the country’s waterfowl use the Mississippi River corridor for their flight path, according to the National Park Service.

To learn more about the Lights Out Program, visit audubon.org.


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