As millions of birds prepare to migrate through Portland along the Pacific Flyway, city officials are urging residents to reduce light pollution by turning off or dimming their outdoor lights. This initiative aims to help protect migrating birds, which rely on the moon and stars for navigation, but can be disoriented by urban lighting. 

Why It Matters 

Urban light pollution has been identified as a significant threat to wildlife, especially birds. It can disrupt their natural sleep cycles, alter migration patterns, and, in some cases, lead to collisions with buildings or other structures. Since the 1970s, North America's bird population has decreased by 30%, underscoring the need for protective measures during key migration periods. 


The Latest News 

In response to this growing concern, the Portland City Council passed a proclamation last week, championed by the Bird Alliance of Oregon, calling for darker skies during the spring migration period, which lasts until May 19. The proclamation encourages residents and businesses to minimize light pollution by turning off unnecessary exterior lighting or directing it downward to reduce its impact. 

What the City Is Asking 

The city recommends that Portlanders turn off security lights, garden lights, and other external lighting that might attract birds. Participation in the initiative is voluntary, but several city buildings are leading the way by joining Lights Out Portland. This includes City Hall, the Portland Building, and various Portland Parks & Recreation community centers. 


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The Importance of the Pacific Flyway 

The Pacific Flyway is one of four major migration routes for birds in North America, bringing millions of birds through Portland's airspace each year. Reducing light pollution during the migration period can make a significant difference in ensuring the safe passage of these birds. 

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