How to help local birds during fall migration

By turning off non-essential lights from midnight to 6 a.m. you can help local birds travel safely.

Wood thrush

The wood thrush is a frequent nocturnal migrant.

Photo by Andy Reago + Chrissy McLarren

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It’s that time of the year, y’all. Pumpkin spice lattes are in full swing, leaves are beginning to change, and bird migration is underway.

The bright artificial lights of cities — which create a phenomenon called sky glow — can cause traveling birds to become disoriented and crash into buildings or windows.

Enter Lights Out! Asheville. Blue Ridge Audubon + the Coalition for a Bird-Friendly Asheville worked together to create a local chapter of the national program, helping keep birds safe as they soar across the major migration path of the Appalachian Mountains.

How can I participate?

The community can help the avian Ashevillians by:

  • Turning off non-essential lights between 12 and 6 a.m.
  • Not using landscape lighting in trees or gardens.
  • Using warm temperature bulbs or installing down-shields for lighting that can’t be extinguished.
  • Closing the blinds to reduce light emission to the outdoors.

Explore toolkits and resources for more information on how to create bird-friendly buildings and abodes. Fall migration began on Tuesday, Aug. 15 and runs through Thursday, Nov. 30. Peak migration takes place now through Sunday, Oct. 29.

A bird’s eye view

Now that you have migration on your mind, there’s a chance for you to see chimney swifts swirl through the sky as they make their journey to eastern Peru and the Amazon basin of South America for the winter. Blue Ridge Audubon is hosting its annual Swift Night Out tonight, Thursday, Sept. 28 — meet at 7 p.m. on the top floor of the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Parking Deck (68 Rankin Ave.) to see the birds gather and enter roosting sites. Plus, folks from Blue Ridge Audubon will be on site to answer any questions you have.

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