By Staff

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Downtown Fort Worth’s high-rise buildings have joined the mission to help save the lives of migrating birds.

In a partnership between the City of Fort Worth and Downtown Fort Worth Inc., the skyline will be dimmed every night through May 31 from midnight to 6 a.m.

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As part of a nationwide initiative called Lights Out, the goal is to protect the billions of birds as they migrate across the United States — one of the largest migrations on the planet and one that occurs primarily at night.

Light from buildings, especially in urban areas, attracts and disorients these migrating birds, confusing and exhausting them and making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings.

According to research done by the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and Lights Out Texas, Texas is globally important for birds. Approximately one of every three birds migrating through the U.S. fly through Texas.

“The Cornell Lab and our partners are the leaders in this effort,” said Cody Whittenburg, environmental manager for the City of Fort Worth. “This is a great educational opportunity for our entire community to take one proactive step to protect these migrating bird populations. Turning the lights out in other populated areas of the city such as shopping centers and outdoor sports venues will also make a huge contribution.”

Former First Lady Laura Bush wrote an editorial for the Sunday, March 14 Dallas Morning News about the need to help protect migratory birds.

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Frost Tower is one of the downtown buildings supporting the Lights Out, Fort Worth effort.

“It’s so important for all of us to act locally to support our global environment, and this is just one small way we can do our part,” said Laura Bird, president of Anthracite Realty Partners LLC., Frost Tower in downtown Fort Worth. “Light pollution causes the habitat loss that affects our bird populations.

“Texas and Fort Worth are fortunate to be located right in the center of the flyway for migration. This brings more types of birds to visit Texas for all of us to experience. At Frost Tower Fort Worth, we want to educate our tenants and visitors, so we’ve developed slides for our TV screens on the ground-floor lobby and the sky lobby. Hopefully the slides will inspire everyone to be an advocate as they go back to their homes and communities.”

It’s not necessary to be downtown to take part – reduce light pollution at night for a few hours, where possible, to support this effort.

Turning off lights dramatically reduces hazards and disorientation by light, allowing birds to safely proceed with their migratory journeys. The Lights Out campaign has a secondary benefit: it saves energy and money. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency highlights energy as the largest operating expense for commercial buildings.

Downtown buildings participating in the effort so far:

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Bank of America Tower
Burnett Plaza
Cash America
First on 7th
Fort Worth City Hall
Frost Tower
Pier I Building
The Tower
Trinity Terrace
Wells Fargo Tower Staff