Thursday, March 25, 2021

'Lights Out Columbia County' aimed at protecting migratory birds


Check out the article and link below as Dr. Clay Corbin contributes to a recent Newswatch 16 segment. Great work on sharing your area of expertise with the surrounding community, Dr. Corbin!

As birds prepare to migrate, commissioners in Columbia County are asking residents and business owners to help prevent those birds from flying into buildings.

Dr. Clay Corbin
Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. — Billions of birds migrate north in the spring and south in the fall. According to the National Audubon Society, millions of those birds are killed by flying into buildings and glass windows.

Commissioners in Columbia County recently signed a proclamation in hopes of preventing bird deaths. It's called "Lights Out Columbia County." The commissioners are asking business owners and residents to reduce unnecessary lighting.

"The city glow and then the glow from bright houses confuses the migratory birds, and then they'll actually crash into the building windows, or they'll crash into the windows in your house," Columbia County Commissioner Chris Young said.

Commissioner Young had the idea for Lights Out Columbia County after Philadelphia recently adopted the program. Young says that while Columbia is a rural county, there are tall buildings in Bloomsburg and Berwick with a lot of glass.

"If we can work with them and get them to reduce the lighting, then it's going to be good for the migratory birds," Young said.

"It's a huge problem. There are several contributors of bird death in North America, and one of them is birds running into windows that have a high reflectivity," said Clay Corbin, a biology professor at Bloomsburg University.

Corbin participated in a 2014 study regarding birds flying into windows. His class collected bird carcasses from outside campus buildings.

"If we're going to have an effect on the extinction of it that's occurring, we have to act locally. I think Columbia County is a great place to do it," Corbin said.

In addition to potentially saving birds, turning down lights could potentially save energy.

"Which also helps not only your electric bill but also helps the environment," Young said.

Lights Out Columbia County runs from April 1 through May 31 and August 15 through November 15.

~Retrieved from:  WNEP website as reported by Nikki Krize, March 24, 2021

Link to article and news airing:

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