Last week, Logan Mayor Holly Daines signed a proclamation reminding residents and businesses to reduce their light pollution to help migrating birds.
“It's the equivalent of throwing your trash on the side of the road and not picking up after your dog because it spoils the world for everybody else when there's too much light coming off of buildings and a lot of lights are actually pointing outward and upward,” said Hilary Shughart, the president of the Bridgerland Audubon Society.
Shughart is worried about light pollution, or the excess use of nighttime lighting. She said nighttime is an important time for migrating songbirds, and excess light can confuse them.
“Building collisions are a huge one, and it's not just daytime. Two-thirds of songbirds migrate at night for various reasons. They use the stars to guide them and it's less stress to fly in the cooler evening. And so that's when a lot of the collisions happen,” Shughart explained.
Songbirds also may avoid predators while migrating at night, making the dangerous journey a little safer.
In addition to being showy and charismatic, songbirds are important parts of our ecosystems. But, Shughart said, even if you aren’t interested in birds, there are other benefits to reducing light pollution.
“We certainly can keep our skies darker at night. Utah is under a goldmine of stars, so even if you don't care about birds, you will have a such a treat if we can all reduce our light pollution. It's amazing the stars that you can see here, due to our elevation and also the dry air,” Shughart said.
The proclamation Mayor Daines signed is in conjunction with the Bridgerland Audubon, and it urges residents and businesses to turn off unnecessary lighting and close blinds at night. While the proclamation is a simple reminder, Shughart hopes this will increase awareness about the impacts light pollution has on birds.
To learn more about light pollution and how you can reduce yours, visit bridgerlandaudubon.org.