Lights Out Cleveland volunteers begin their day at five or six a.m. and their work is done by eight-thirty in the morning during migration season.
“The birds that live here know where the buildings are,” said volunteer Rich Nicholls, “but the ones that are migrating, they get confused.”
We’re entering the heart of spring migration season, when millions of birds travel north for feeding and breeding. Driving the news: Cleveland is an important pit stop, as species recharge and refuel before the aerial trek across Lake Erie. That makes Northeast Ohio both a mecca for birdwatching and…
This month marks the start of the spring migration season, when millions of songbirds travel through Central Ohio. Unfortunately, many won’t reach their destinations because they’ll collide with buildings — a deadly problem a group of volunteers wants to help solve.
The Mentor Public Library is hosting a program about the team that’s making Northeast Ohio safer for migrating birds. Every spring and fall, millions of birds migrate through Ohio on the way to their breeding and overwintering grounds. Most species migrate at night, so the lights on tall buildings can disorient them and even cause them to crash and die.
Like moths to a flame, migrating birds looking to rest and refuel are drawn to the bright lights of downtown Cleveland. For many it will be their last stop. Each year, thousands of birds heading to and from Canada and the tropics plow into downtown buildings, leaving many of the tiny, feathered visitors dead or wounded on sidewalks and windowsills.
A migrating Wood Thrush injured in a downtown window collision was rescued by Lights Out volunteers April 27 and later fitted with a nanotag to track its journey to summer habitats. The Wood Thrush was only the second bird rescued in several years of Lights Out monitoring to have a nanotag placed before being released back to its migration pathway.
Matthew Shumar is the Program Coordinator for the Ohio Bird Conservation Institute (OBCI), a collaboration of non-profit groups, businesses, state and federal government
agencies, and citizens working to advance bird conservation efforts. The OBCI and its large network of conservation organizations has developed a Lights Out program to work within communities to address light and glass issues in urban areas. Regional Lights Out programs are now running in most of Ohio’s major cities and are supported by a wide variety of conservation organizations, businesses, and individuals. In addition to his work with OBCI, Matt is in charge of web communications for the Association of Field Ornithologists and is the co-editor of The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Ohio.
Grant Sizemore of the American Bird Conservancy details how house cats can coexist with garden birds, and Matthew Shumar of the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative describes how to make your yard more bird safe