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Sunday, July 13, 2014

What's the benefit of having building lights on all night? Dead birds?


Most people know that, at night, lit buildings cause migrating birds to crash into them. Thousands and thousands die (in every city in the country) from flying into usually-empty buildings. All because the inside lights are left on. Many are owned by or leased by the State, hence a partial solution:  

In Minnesota, the governor signed a law directing that the 5,326 state-owned or state- leased buildings turn off interior lights after midnight, during spring and fall bird migrations. This happened with leadership by several local birding organizations. Not only does this save birds, but it reduces CO2 emissions, saves energy and saves taxpayers’ money.

North Texas is on the central flyway, along which millions of birds migrate twice each year. Why am I writing about this now? Well, we all know how long it takes for a bill to get agreed on and signed into law.

 
 

Yellow-breasted Chat
The largest warbler there is:
The Yellow-breasted Chat is seen fairly commonly in north Texas, although often called by an inconclusive name such as “What’s That?” 

It’s a warbler – at 7-inches long the largest warbler there is. It's most identifiable by the white "goggles" around the eyes.
 
Nestlings (out of the egg, but still in the nest) eat only insects. Out of the nest, the juveniles add fruits and berries to their diet - never seeds. The curious habit of some juvenile Chats is to wander northward after the late spring breeding season, instead of to their traditional wintering grounds in far south Texas and Central America, down to Panama.

 
 

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.

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