BPA is participating in Lights Out Portland, an initiative to help keep migratory birds safe.


BPA is participating in Lights Out Portland, an initiative to help keep migratory birds safe.

BPA headquarters is joining its Lloyd District neighbors in Lights Out Portland, a campaign to protect millions of birds passing over Portland on their spring migration. The initiative, taking place April 15 to May 19, aims to help all migrating birds, including warblers, thrushes, sparrows, tanagers, finches and grosbeaks. Lights Out Portland is part of a national campaign that began in 1999; BPA headquarters has been participating since 2016.

During Lights Out Portland, participating buildings are asked to do the following from 11 p.m. to dawn:

  • Turn off rooftop lighting.
  • Turn off or dim exterior architectural lighting.
  • Turn off or dim lobby/atrium lighting.
  • Turn off interior lights in unoccupied spaces.
  • Close blinds or drapes.

Safety and security lighting is exempt.

Light pollution, or the presence of excessive artificial lighting, can be detrimental to birds traveling long distances. Light pollution can disrupt birds’ navigational abilities and night vision, resulting in deadly collisions with buildings and other infrastructure. Darkness serves as an important habitat for birds – circadian rhythm impacts their sleep, mating, migration, hunting and hibernation. Portland sees an especially high number of birds overhead in spring and fall because it’s toward the center of the Western Flyway – the course that birds take as they seasonally migrate north and south along the West Coast.

BPA actions

Luckily for the birds, BPA’s lighting practices already fit within the goals of Lights Out Portland. The lights at headquarters are on timers, so they turn off when not in use. This means at night, when most staff are not working, the building is relatively dark. Additionally, Facilities limits nighttime lighting to what is necessary for safety and security. This has benefits beyond birds – these actions save money and energy for BPA.

At-home actions

BPA employees can also help migratory birds from home. While BPA headquarters is the only facility located in the Lights Out Portland territory, these tips apply to homeowners everywhere:

  • Turn off exterior and interior lights when not in use.
  • Turn off non-essential lights from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. during critical migration periods (now through May 19).
  • Make sure your exterior light fixtures are well-shielded.
  • Reduce the brightness of your exterior light fixtures.
  • Use warm LED bulbs instead of blue-toned LED lights.
  • During peak migration, close your blinds and curtains to reduce light spill.
  • Encourage your neighbors to participate as well.

Those located in Portland who want to help birds beyond migration can participate in the Backyard Habitat Certification Program. This program provides technical support, financial assistance and recognition to those who want to create natural, low-maintenance gardens that support birds and other wildlife. Since the program launched in 2009, more than 10,000 properties have joined, spanning over 2,300 acres.

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