It's 'lights out' in N.Y. -- for the birds

Sept. 2, 2010 at 10:21 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- An increasing number of New York skyscrapers are turning their lights off at night -- not to save energy but to save birds' lives, officials say.

The "lights out" project to help reduce the number of birds hitting the high rise building was organized by the New York City Audubon Society and will run until Nov. 1, when migratory birds are expected to have completed their autumn migrations, the BBC reported.

Organizers of the annual program, now in its fifth year, say the bright lights disorient migrating birds and override their natural navigational cues.

An estimated 90,000 birds each year are killed in the city as a result of striking glass-faced buildings.

Volunteers will patrol many of the buildings at night.

"The monitoring and research improves our understanding of the causes behind urban bird [strikes], and studies ways to prevent future [strikes] from occurring," Susan Elbin, director of conservation for NYC Audubon, said.

Among the buildings dimming their lights are the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

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