By John Little
Starting this fall, Wake Audubon will initiate its own “Lights Out” program to help prevent the needless deaths of migrating birds. It’s well known that millions upon millions of avian migrants are nocturnal travelers. These night flyers who navigate by the moon and stars encounter barriers to their destinations in the form of well lighted buildings in urban areas. The birds become confused by the artificial light and crash into buildings causing senseless carnage. Raleigh is an unlikely exception which is where Wake Audubon’s “Lights Out” program will come into play. Volunteers are needed to survey a predetermined route in downtown Raleigh looking for dead and injured birds, collecting those poor creatures for delivery to the Natural Science Museum, and recording the findings. When sufficient data are collected, meetings will be arranged with building owners and city officials to gain their support in reducing the number of artificially lighted buildings. In cities where this has been done, the night time death rate has been reduced by as much 80 per cent. Probably more important to the building owners, their energy costs have been significantly reduced. The 2013 fall campaign will take place between 15 September and 15 November.
So, what is needed? Wake Audubon, like the Marines, is looking for a few good women and men–around fourteen–to conduct daily early morning surveys in teams of two. Maps will be provided to show the route and identify the major buildings to examine. The first training session will be conducted at 6:30 AM, Sunday, 8 September in front of the Wells Fargo Building on Fayetteville Street. Winston-Salem ornithologist Kim Brand who has spearheaded that city’s Lights Out program will lead the session. This is one of the most important conservation undertakings Wake Audubon has ever engaged. It’s success totally depends on a strong voluntary response. If you can and are willing to help, please notify John Little (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lena Gallitano (email@example.com.) Remember the training date will be 8 September at 6:30 AM in front of the Wells Fargo Building on Fayetteville Street.