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"Lights Out, Texas" campaign aims to dim city skylines for migrating birds

NORTH TEXAS ( — If you drive through downtown Dallas or Fort Worth this month, you may notice the skyline isn't as bright as usual. 

It is all thanks to a campaign called "Lights Out, Texas," which is aiming to turn down the lights to save the birds.

Downtown Dallas is renowned for its festive light shows on the iconic buildings that dot the skyline. But this fall, many of these buildings are going dark to clear a path for bird migration.

"Texas is in the central flyway, which means that birds are migrating in the spring and the fall," said Chloe Crumley, Audubon Texas engagement manager. "Every year, we're seeing about two billion birds come through our state."

About 80% of birds travel at night, and those bright city lights can pose a deadly distraction. And those that survive are then separated from their flock. A collision in 2017 into a Galveston building involved almost 400 birds, and the "Lights Out, Texas" movement was born.

From Oct. 1 to Oct. 21, dozens of downtown Dallas and Fort Worth buildings will dim their lights from sundown until 11 p.m., and will then turn them off from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. and back to 50% capacity until sunrise.

This is the third year Reunion Tower has dimmed its 259 LED bulbs, and marketing manager Jenna Guinn said participating was an easy decision.

"We are 561-feet-tall, so, of course, we are directly in the path of migrating birds in spring and fall. So with fall coming up, we just want to make sure that we allow them to travel safely through the City of Dallas," she said.

Crumley said the hope is that this helps stop a decades-long reduction of birds, which is a concern because of all of the benefits they provide to our habitat. 

"So when we're seeing birds that are not just colliding into buildings but aren't able to reproduce, then that rapid decline and rate of our birds is going to be concerning as a larger conservation effort across the world."

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