Who are we?
Lights Out Baltimore is a nonprofit project of the Baltimore Bird Club, a local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society. Our goal is to make Charm City safe for migratory birds by turning out decorative lighting in the city during peak migration seasons, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and to advocate for bird-safe building design that makes glass and windows visible to birds.
Why are we called Lights Out?
Birds migrate every year by navigation of the moon and stars. These birds become disoriented when flying over brightly lit buildings in city areas. Once the birds fly into the city confused by the lights, the urban environment becomes a deadly trap. Buildings with clear glass or reflective glass cause birds to collide with the building. These collisions can kill or injure the bird. If the bird survives the collision, they can become predated by rats or gulls. Millions of birds die annually from building collisions. Our goal at Lights Out Baltimore is to turn ALL decorative lighting in downtown Baltimore OFF during migration seasons. Read more about a lights out program in National Audubon Magazine.
What we do?
A core group of volunteers walk downtown Baltimore during fall and spring migration to rescue injured birds from window collisions and collect dead birds. Injured ones are taken to Phoenix Wildlife Center and dead ones are taken to the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. Deceased birds are used in various cancer and aging research conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Over 4000 birds have been found dead since monitoring the Baltimore streets in 2008 and over 1000 have been rescued including 56 bats.
Lights Out programs
Other cities are making great strides in bird conservation-it's time to push for a more bird-friendly Baltimore! There are over 20 lights out programs in North America including our own branch out program of Towson University rescuing birds on the campus- Lights Out Towson University. Check out some of the following cities: