The 2017 Project Safe Flight Atlanta program monitoring bird-building collisions is in the books. During fall monitoring, volunteers collected more than 200 birds representing 51 different species, bringing the total number of birds collected since the program began in fall 2015 to over 900 birds of 89 different species. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Tennessee Warblers were the most common bird species collected during the fall monitoring period which ran from mid-August to mid-November 2017.
Twenty-seven Atlanta Audubon Society volunteers invested 210 hours this fall patrolling routes in Buckhead, Georgia Tech, downtown, and Midtown. In addition, volunteers monitored 15 individual buildings at other metro locations that have had high reports of bird collisions. The program also receives assistance from building cleaning crews, security personnel, homeowners, and others who report bird collisions.
Each year, an estimated 365 million to 1 billion birds die in the United States after colliding with buildings. In Atlanta, Project Safe Flight Atlanta volunteers patrol selected routes during peak bird migration periods collecting birds that have died or been injured after colliding with buildings. Atlanta Audubon Society is actively recruiting volunteers to help patrol Project Safe Flight Atlanta routes. Training is provided. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/project-safe-flight.
In an effort to reduce the number of bird-building collisions, Atlanta Audubon launched the Lights Out Atlanta Program in spring 2017. A voluntary program, Lights Out Atlanta encourages building owners and residential homeowners to turn off or reduce lighting from midnight to dawn during the peak bird migration periods. Participants pledge to reduce non-essential lighting during peak migration periods of March 15 to May 31 (spring) and August 15 to November 15 (fall). The pledge is available on the Atlanta Audubon website at www.AtlantaAudubon.org/lightsoutatlanta. Since Lights Out Atlanta launched in spring 2017, more than 125 homeowners and 14 commercial properties have pledged to turn the lights out to help birds, including the City of Atlanta, Cox Enterprises, Highwoods Properties, Parmenter Realty Partners, and the SouthFace Energy Institute.
Atlanta Audubon is once again partnering with the Atlanta Better Building Challenge (ABBC) on Lights Out Atlanta outreach. This partnership is a natural fit since the ABBC Program’s goal is to reduce energy and water use in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. ABBC already encourages participants to turn off any unnecessary nighttime lighting.
Modeled after other successful programs in Toronto, New York City, and Minneapolis, Lights Out Atlanta is working with building owners, property management companies, tenants, local governments, and homeowners to make Atlanta safe for passing birds. Studies have shown that bird deaths during peak migration periods can be dramatically reduced when exterior architectural and unnecessary lighting is turned off. Lights Out Atlanta has an additional benefit of reducing energy usage and cost to help properties achieve their sustainability goals.
For more information or to take the Lights Out Atlanta pledge, please visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/lights-out-atlanta.