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Wildlife Habitat

Dark Skies for Wildlife

Illustration: Sarah Marjanovic

According to the National Audubon Society, 70 percent of birds in North America migrate and more than 80 percent of them make their seasonal flights at night. Leaving lights on at night can disorient birds. It is estimated that millions of birds are killed every year when they crash into buildings. Other birds get confused and may fly in circles for hours until they are exhausted, using up precious energy they need to successfully migrate and making them easy targets for predators.

Check out BirdCast to see when bird migration is happening in your area and to monitor for peak migration dates.

Nighttime lighting doesn’t just impact birds. There is scientific evidence that artificial light at night has negative effects on many wildlife species including amphibians, mammals, insects, and plants. Some simple steps to help wildlife at night are:

  1. Turn off unnecessary lights.
  2. Use curtains or blinds to keep indoor light indoors.
  3. Install motion sensors and timers on outdoor lighting so they are only on when they need to be and not all night.
  4. Use down shield exterior lights.


Illinois Department of Natural Resources Link
The National Great Rivers Research & Education Center Link 2wav Link