Learn how to protect birds from light pollution and glass collisions at a free MDC program April 12 at Powder Valley Nature Center

News from the region
Saint Louis
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KIRKWOOD, Mo.— “Blinded by the Light” isn’t just a song title or a saying. It’s the real experience of many migrating birds as they fly by our cities at night. 

Did you know the majority of birds migrate during the dark of night?  St. Louis sits in one of the major migratory pathways of birds in North America – the Mississippi Flyway.  Unfortunately, both the bright lights of our urban areas and reflective glass structures are causing a traffic jam in this flyway as birds become confused and disoriented.  An estimated 600 million birds in the U.S. die each year from collisions with buildings, and countless thousands are disrupted by the overwhelming glow of artificial lights.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the St. Louis Audubon Society hope to shed light on this issue and ways the public can help with a free program, BirdSafeSTL and Lights Out Heartland- Keeping Birds Safe in St. Louis, Tuesday, April 12 from 7-8 p.m.  The event will be held at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood, or participants and view the program virtually during the same time.  The event is open to all ages.

The Mississippi Flyway is used by 60% of North American songbirds and 40% of the continent’s waterfowl.  Together more than 325 different bird species fly the route. 

Learn how the biology of birds causes light pollution and glass to be dangerous to them as they migrate through our area and forage in our urban and suburban landscapes.  The program will also describe how the BirdSafeSTL and Lights Out Heartland projects are working to protect birds, and how participants themselves can help birds remain safe in the St. Louis area. 

The program will cover steps like how to eliminate sources of unneeded light, how to shield lights to make them more efficient and bird-friendly, and how to employ motion sensors and timers to reduce wasteful light. It will also look at ways to reduce or break up reflections created by windows and reflective structures that birds often fly into. 

BirdSafeSTL and Lights Out Heartland- Keeping Birds Safe in St. Louis is a free program; however, advanced online registration is required at the following links:

For those participating virtually, the program will be conducted through WebEx. Participants will receive an email invitation with the program link approximately 24 hours prior to the event. Please check junk mail/spam folders if you do not receive the invitation.

Powder Valley Nature Center is located at 11715 Cragwold Road in Kirkwood, near the intersection of I-270 and I-44.

Program registrants should note that families now have the option to link their children’s accounts to their own which will streamline the program registration process.  Once a group account is set up, parents will be able to register their children to an event without having to logoff and login for each person.  This allows parents to register an entire family or select family members to an event at the same time. 

Stay informed of MDC latest programs by going to the MDC St. Louis regional events page at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZP6.