Take Action to Protect Migrating Birds with Bird-Safe Lighting

April 30 2022 bird in oregon

By Joshua Baker

More than 2.5 million birds will migrate over Oregon tomorrow! With tens of thousands flying through Portland, help keep them safe by turning off your outside lights tonight, drawing your blinds, and learning about bird-safe lighting.

Why is this important? 

Each year, tens of thousands of birds migrate along the Pacific Flyway, through Portland, using the stars as their guide. However, exterior lighting can confuse birds, and many get lost and die from exhaustion. Others smash into windows when interior lighting is left on at night and visible through a window. You can take a small step to protect these birds by turning off your outside lights, closing your curtains, and encouraging your neighbors to do the same.

Want to do more to protect birds while saving money on electric bills? Consider upgrading your lighting with Lloyd EcoDistrict’s LED Advantage Member Program (LAMP) to bird-safe lighting.

Bird-Safe Lighting

The most important features for bird safety are color temperature, intensity, and directionality.

  • Lighting that appears more cool and blue looks a lot like the stars. The easiest way to control this is to select night-time lighting that is below 2700k. This is also better for human health, as more blue lights have been shown to have the potential to disrupt our circadian rhythm. It used to be the case that LEDs were more energy efficient in the range of 4000k, but within the last ten years that has changed and LEDs are now equally efficient across the range of color output.
  • Extremely bright lights are also a problem for birds and cause glare for people, so lights should have the appropriate intensity and be designed to provide good visibility, without causing your eye to need to adjust drastically once you leave the lit area.
  • Lighting should also have good shielding so lights are pointed down and not up – we don’t need to light up the sky in order to find our way at night! This is also a smart choice for reducing light pollution and having a chance of seeing the stars.

Switching to LED lighting is a smart choice to save energy and thankfully, with a wide range of color, intensity, and good directionality, can make it easy to pick quality lighting that is safe for birds (and better for people too!).

Take advantage of the improved Energy Trust of Oregon Commercial Lighting incentive to make upgrades this year.

Energy Trust of Oregon has announced changes to their commercial lighting incentives that can significantly improve the financial return for many types of commercial and industrial lighting projects, including outdoor lighting upgrades. Some of the highlights include:

  • Project caps have been raised to $250,000, meaning that larger lighting projects of all types can now qualify for full incentives, rather than being capped at a lower dollar amount.
  • Incentives have increased for higher wattage interior LED fixtures.  This will primarily be applicable to commercial and industrial buildings with higher ceilings, such as warehouses, manufacturing, and some retail locations.
  • Fixtures with individual sensors and with advanced lighting controls will also qualify for higher incentives.  This will be beneficial for the applications mentioned above, but also for office buildings and parking garages.

Learn more about and contact Lloyd EcoDistrict’s LED Advantage Member Program (LAMP) team to find out if now is a good time to complete a lighting upgrade at your building before the fall’s migratory season arrives.

P.S.: Take the Portland Audubon’s pledge to go Lights Out for birds, other wildlife and human health and learn about Portland Audubon’s push to secure funding to develop dark skies regulation in Portland.