Wake Audubon Blog

Lights Out, Raleigh

i Aug 31st No Comments by

Wake Audubon Society Citizens Petition to the City of Raleigh Council

Protecting Birds and Saving Money with Lights Out

Wake Audubon Society is a chapter of Audubon North Carolina and the National Audubon Society.  With more than 1,500 members, we actively support projects and educational programs in Raleigh and Wake County to advocate for wildlife, nature and conservation.

During spring and fall migration, millions of birds pass through North Carolina, often flying at night and passing through urban centers on their way to their migratory destination.  Many of these birds collide with buildings and other structures.  Through onsite walks, Wake Audubon has documented more than 100 building associated bird deaths in downtown Raleigh over the last four migrations.  Click here for background information about Lights Out programs in other cities as well as the protocol and data collected from our Raleigh Lights Out surveys.

Research has shown that eliminating non-essential indoor and exterior building lighting between 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM during spring and fall migration can significantly reduce bird mortality. At the same time, significant savings on utility bills could be realized if the reduced late night lighting is extended to a year round practice.

We have discussed Lights Out with staff from the Office of Sustainability and have received favorable feedback on our proposal from several stakeholders they contacted.  We look forward to further discussion and to Council’s assistance with the approval of a formal policy.

In keeping with Wake Audubon Society’s mission of advocating for wildlife, we petition the City of Raleigh Council to adopt the following “Lights Out” policy to provide safer passage for migrating birds and to benefit the City and its citizens by reducing utility costs:

All City of Raleigh owned and operated municipal buildings are included in this Lights Out policy to protect birds and reduce utility costs:

  • All non-essential outside lighting, including decorative up-lighting, and all non-essential interior lights will be turned off year-round from 11 PM to dawn.
  • Staff in buildings with overnight operations will be encouraged to use blinds/curtains, to diffuse transmitted light to the outside.
  • Security lighting is not included in this policy.

If adopted, Raleigh will be the first city in North Carolina to adopt a municipal, city-wide Lights Out policy to protect birds and reduce utility costs.  As such, our city will be widely recognized through the Audubon network for this forward-thinking, bird-friendly, energy-saving policy.  Wake Audubon Society members stand ready to work with city staff and do all we can to make this a win-win for Raleigh and our birds.

First half 2015 in review; in August, Celebrate Swifts and our 40th year!

i Aug 5th No Comments by

Authored by Rick LaRose

Greetings Wake Audubon members and friends! As board member John Connors wrote in the previous post, we’re terrifically excited to Celebrate Swifts and the completion of our Chimney Swift Roost Tower with you the weekend of August 21-23. Friday night, join us downtown at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for a forum with swift experts from across North America. On Saturday, late afternoon through dusk, join us at Prairie Ridge Ecostation — the site of our tower — for family fun and games and the tower dedication. Bring a blanket or chairs, hang out with us as the sun sets, and let’s see how many swifts join in on the celebration! Meet us out and about Sunday at dusk for more swift viewings at urban chimneys you might not know exist, some in possible peril.

Thank you to all of you who have helped to make this tower a reality through your generous donations, many in support of our Buy a Brick for Swifts campaign. With the tower installed, your future donations will help fund technology to study swift activity at the tower and to landscape with native plants around the tower and viewing patio. See your inscribed bricks on display when you join us on August 22.

I also want to express my sincere appreciation for your ongoing support of Wake Audubon — as participants in our advocacy, conservation, and education initiatives; as volunteers; as members; as donors — in fulfillment of our mission.

Together we’ve successfully advocated to protect land in Eastern NC for endangered Henslow’s sparrows. Locally, we’re helping to conserve monarch butterflies by planting milkweed, the American woodcock by maintaining nesting grounds, and native landscape by removing invasive species — these among many other conservation efforts. And together we’re providing education to families as exhibitors at community events throughout the year. We enjoy your fellowship through all these activities, at monthly educational program and chapter meetings, on bird walks and field trips, and at bird counts. Thank you.

While we’ve had a busy year thus far, we have much more in store for this summer, including our August 11 chapter meeting, where members will show and tell about an array of experiences and adventures. Always entertaining! Bring a potluck dish to share and have a slice of cake in celebration of Wake Audubon’s 40th anniversary, with a preview to our August swift celebration!

While on our web site, see our calendar for summer and fall activities. Read recent blog posts. Visit our Flickr photostream. At the top right of any web page, find us on Facebook, and join our Wake Audubon Meetup group.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Rick LaRose

President, Wake Audubon

Chimney Swift roosting tower at Prairie Ridge Ecostation.

Chimney Swift roosting tower at Prairie Ridge Ecostation.

Milkweed planting crew from Wake Audubon. Planting was on May 17, 2015

Milkweed planting crew from Wake Audubon. Planting at Harris Lake was on May 17, 2015

Worksite team photo

Wake Audubon and NC State Volunteers

Outreach at Songbird Celebration at Blue Jay Point County Park.

Outreach at Songbird Celebration at Blue Jay Point County Park.