|Reunion Tower supports Lights Out Texas, a campaign that aims to protect migratory birds from light pollution.|
|The tower will lower its lights and go dark for several hours each night from October 1 to October 21.|
|You can also join Lights Out Texas by turning off or dimming your non-essential lights from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. during peak migration periods.|
Reunion Tower, the ball-shaped landmark on the western edge of downtown Dallas, is known for its dazzling light shows that illuminate the city skyline nightly. To locals like us, it’s one of the main icons of our city. But for a few weeks in October, the tower will lower its lights and go dark for several hours each night.
Why? To help keep the billions of birds that are migrating through Texas this fall safe as part of Lights Out Texas.
As dark sky advocates, we love the fact that Reunion Tower protects birds from light pollution and tries to do their part!
Why Lights Out Texas?
Texas is part of the Central Migratory Flyway, a route that extends from the Northwest to Mexico and covers most of the state. Every fall and spring, nearly two billion birds travel through this flyway, making it one of the largest bird migrations on the planet.
However, this natural phenomenon also poses a serious threat to the birds’ survival. Many of them migrate at night, and artificial lights from urban areas can attract and confuse them. This can cause them to collide with buildings, lose their orientation, waste their energy, or become vulnerable to predators.
According to a study by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdCast, Dallas-Fort Worth is the third most dangerous area in the U.S. for migratory birds, after Chicago and Houston. Volunteer surveys have found hundreds of dead birds every night in these cities during peak migration periods. Nationwide, nearly a billion birds are killed by collisions with buildings every year.
To prevent this tragedy and protect the birds and the environment, several organizations have launched the Lights Out Texas campaign. This initiative encourages residents and businesses to turn off or dim their non-essential lights from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. during peak migration periods, which are September 6 to October 29 in the fall and March 1 to May 31 in the spring.
How Reunion Tower Supports Lights Out Texas
Reunion Tower is one of the most prominent landmarks in Dallas, and its light shows are a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. However, the tower also recognizes its responsibility to protect the migrating birds and support the Lights Out Texas campaign.
That’s why, from October 1 to October 21 this year, Reunion Tower will adjust its lighting schedule as follows:
|Sundown to 11 p.m.: The tower will lower its lights to a dimmer level.|
|11 p.m. to 6 a.m.: The tower will go completely dark and turn off all its lights.|
|6 a.m. to sunrise: The tower will resume its dimmed lights until full daylight.|
This schedule will help reduce the impact of artificial light on the birds’ migration and allow them to safely pass through Dallas without being distracted or disoriented.
However, this does not mean that Reunion Tower will stop entertaining its visitors with its light shows. The tower will still feature fall-themed displays during the dimmed hours, such as pumpkins, spiders, leaves, and football teams. These shows will be less bright and more subtle than usual, but still enjoyable and festive.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities for Migrating Birds
|City (Spring)||Light Pollution (Spring, nanoWatts/cm²/sr)||Migrant Birds (Spring, %)||City (Fall)||Light Pollution (Fall, nanoWatts/cm²/sr)||Migrant Birds (Fall, %)|
|Chicago, IL||32.5||22.0||Chicago, IL||32.5||25.6|
|Houston, TX||28.8||18.6||Houston, TX||28.8||18.9|
|Dallas, TX||27.6||14.9||Dallas, TX||27.6||14.3|
|Los Angeles, CA||26.4||14.0||Atlanta, GA||24.3||13.9|
|St. Louis, MO||23.4||13.3||New York, NY||33.3||13.7|
|Minneapolis, MN||21.7||12.4||St. Louis, MO||23.4||12.8|
|Kansas City, MO||20.7||11.7||Minneapolis, MN||21.7||12.3|
|New York, NY||33.3||11.0||Kansas City, MO||20.7||11.5|
|Atlanta, GA||24.3||10.4||Washington, D.C.||25.9||11.1|
|San Antonio, TX||22.2||10.0||Philadelphia, PA||26.8||10.7|
This table is based on research by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdCast that lists the top 10 most dangerous cities for migrating birds in the U.S. in both spring and fall seasons. The table also includes the mean radiance of artificial light at night (in nanoWatts/cm2/sr) for each city, which is a measure of light pollution. It also includes the average cumulative distribution of migrant birds (in %) passing through each city during the peak migration periods.
How You Can Join Lights Out Texas
Reunion Tower is not the only building that supports Lights Out Texas. Other prominent landmarks in Dallas, such as the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Dallas Zoo, have also joined the campaign and dimmed their lights during migration periods. Additionally, many residential and commercial buildings have participated in this initiative by turning off or reducing their unnecessary lighting at night.
You don’t have to own a skyscraper or a museum to join Lights Out Texas. You can also make a difference by following these simple steps at your home or workplace:
|Turn off all outdoor lighting from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., or use motion sensors or timers to control them.|
|Turn off or dim all indoor lighting that is visible from outside, such as lamps, TVs, computers, or decorative lights.|
|Use curtains or blinds to block any light that escapes from your windows.|
|Replace your incandescent or halogen bulbs with LED bulbs, which are more energy-efficient and less attractive to birds.|
|Avoid using lasers or spotlights that point upward into the sky.|
|Spread the word about Lights Out Texas and encourage your friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers to join the campaign.|
By following these simple actions, you can help save millions of birds’ lives and contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment for everyone.
Reunion Tower is more than just a beautiful sight on the Dallas skyline. It is also a leader in supporting Lights Out Texas, a campaign that aims to protect migratory birds from light pollution.
By dimming its lights and going dark for several hours each night in October, it is helping reduce the impact of artificial light on the birds’ migration and allowing them to safely pass through Texas.
Consider joining Lights Out Texas by turning off or dimming your non-essential lights from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. during peak migration periods. This way, you can help save the birds and the environment, and enjoy the natural beauty of the night sky.
Try this article next on what a light pollution scale is.
About the Authors
We are avid stargazers Jason and Alison Takacs also known as “Roadtrippin’ with Takacs”. With our two boys Preston and Grayson, we seek out some of the darkest skies in the country while also going on many incredible hiking and other outdoor adventures. As part-time RVers, we try to see as much of this amazing world as possible in our spare time and hope you will join us through this blog and other forms of social media as we explore the night sky and other natural wonders as hardcore astrotourists.