A new “Lights-Out” bill has been proposed in NYC’s City Council to reduce migratory bird deaths. The bill would require many privately-owned commercial buildings to reduce light at night. NYC Audubon estimates that 230,000 birds die annually in collisions with windows and brightly lit facades.
The bill wouldn’t apply when people are in buildings, and some buildings could apply for exemptions due to historic or security reasons. Turning off half of the lights in a building can reduce bird collisions by six to eleven times depending on the time of year, a recent study conducted in Chicago found. In 2021, NYC passed two bills reducing lighting in buildings owned and operated by the City. This latest bill would address privately-owned commercial buildings if passed.
Bird populations are in decline, and it’s estimated that there are 3 billion fewer birds today than 50 years ago. More information on the bill is available here.
The Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) was started in Toronto 30 years ago for the same reasons and has proven its veracity. Nice to see cities in the USA waking up to the fact.