New York City dims skyscraper lights to help save birds

Love cities? Love birds? Wish the former would stop killing the latter? Audubon wants to help. Its “Lights Out New York” effort is encouraging Big Apple building owners to turn lights down or off above the 40th floor, from midnight to daylight, during spring and fall migrations. Not only will dimming prevent light-mesmerized birds from smashing into skyscrapers — a similar effort in Chicago saves an estimated 10,000 of our feathered friends a year — but it’ll cut energy use in the bargain. White-throated sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, and yellowthroats are among the avian collision casualties (sadly, the city’s ubiquitous pigeons avoid buildings just fine). NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe noted that birds rely ever more on city parks for habitat. “This is recognizing that beyond architectural beauty, natural beauty is something that can’t be replaced,” he said. Building owner groups expect near total compliance with the voluntary program.