Lights Out: Millions of Birds Currently Migrating Through Colorado
Coloradans may want to consider keeping their outdoor lights turned off for the next few nights, in order to help the millions of birds that are currently migrating through the state.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Birdcast dashboard, an estimated 2,524,200 birds crossed through Colorado between 7:40 p.m. on August 31, 2022, to 6:30 a.m. on September 1, 2022. This is considered to be high traffic for these nocturnal migrants.
Migrating birds regularly fly up to 10,000 feet above the ground. Experts at Cornell explain that birds usually begin to migrate 30 to 45 minutes after sunset, with the greatest number in flight two to three hours later. Birds tend to migrate southward in the fall, but seasonal timing, weather, and geography can alter their flight directions and speed.
Some of the birds that may be seen flying through northern Colorado over the next few weeks include the Wilson's Warbler, the Clay-colored Sparrow, and the Western Kingbird.
There are several simple ways that Colorado residents can help the many migrating birds. These include turning off non-essential outdoor lights at night, putting up window decals to prevent bird collisions, and keeping bird feeders and baths clean. When light pollution is dimmed or cut out during the nighttime, it greatly helps the birds' migration journey. It's also a good idea to keep domestic cats inside for the night to avoid attacks.