A crowded classroom greeted SaraJane Kukawka, seasonal naturalist at the Rocky River Nature Center, on Sunday afternoon as she educated visitors about methods for lowering migratory bird losses from collisions with buildings.
After two hours of active scouting for dead or injured birds in the dark, a group with Lights Out Cleveland early Thursday morning was delighted to come up empty-handed, to find not one fragile flyer that had collided with a building and dropped to the ground.
On a warm May morning this spring, Kandace Glanville walked past Mirror Lake on The Ohio State University campus, gingerly holding a paper lunch bag in her right hand. She strode through dewy grass until she reached the edge of a small wooded area just west of Browning Amphitheatre. Glanville squatted, removed the paper clip securing the bag, and reached in. She pulled out a Bay-breasted Warbler, a tiny bird just 5.5 inches long, stunned from colliding with a window on campus earlier that morning.
It’s known as the biggest week in American birding and for good reason. “We’ve got three big migratory fronts coming through, and they all come through here all at the same time of year,” Don Bauman from California said. Every year birds of all kinds pass through Northwest Ohio as they head north for the summer. Not far behind the feathered creatures are those who enjoy watching them on their way.
Lights out — or lights on? That’s the question that is beginning to roil downtown skyscraper owners and operators as a group of volunteers pushes for a Lights Out Cleveland campaign during periods of bird migration in the spring and fall.
While all of the windows and bright lights from buildings like these in Columbus might look nice to us, for birds, they can be deadly. A group called Lights Out Columbus came together to help make sure that birds can safely migrate through Ohio.
A campaign is encouraging Cleveland buildings to turn out the lights at night in an effort to save migratory birds. Ohio Lights Out and Lights Out Cleveland said building collisions are the leading cause of death in birds during migration in North America, resulting in about a half a billion fatalities each year.
A statewide project called Ohio Lights Out, is trying to get big buildings in big cites to turn off lights at night so that migrating birds don’t get confused and slam into them and die.
This past spring, students from the Ornithology Club at The Ohio State University developed a campus-wide monitoring program to check for bird-building collisions during spring and fall migration. Club co-presidents Kandace Glanville and Tyler Ficker collaborated with Chris Tonra (Assistant Professor in Avian Wildlife Ecology) and Matthew Shumar (Program Coordinator, Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative) to develop protocols for the monitoring effort. They were joined this fall by a team of dedicated undergraduate students.
Tim Jasinski from the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, along with Harvey Webster from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History were in the Fox 8 Cleveland studios this morning promoting the Lights Out Cleveland effort and the 3rd Annual Birds of Lake Erie Day. Check out the clip here