As a senior at Butler I know pretty much every nook and cranny of the campus. I have literally walked every square inch of it. One of my most common paths to class is under the skywalk between Gallahue Hall and Jordan Hall. Unfortunately, this is the skywalk is one of the most common place for bird strikes. Over the years I have seen my share of the skywalk’s casualties so I always knew it was a problem; however I never really considered the scale of the problem or how to go about solving it…
After meeting with Don Gorney, the leader of the Lights Out Indy initiative, I learned that this problem is spread city wide. Indianapolis is in the heart of the Mississippi Flyway for migratory birds and birds seem to be attracted to upward or reflected light from buildings of the Indy-Skyline. Buildings such as the state capital, Chase Bank Building, and the public library downtown these buildings contributed to over 520 bird deaths due to striking buildings. By turning off the lights of these buildings we would save the lives of many migratory birds each season. The Lights Out Indy initiative is simple: Kill the Lights, Save Birds, Save Energy, Save Money.
This initiative is very interesting to me because I always saw conservation biology as sort of investigating deep in the fields, cleaning rivers, planting trees, etc. I never viewed a conservation attempt by encouraging property owners to turn off their lights to save birds. But at the same time, I think that this is a simple enough solution which could ultimately, if successful, “save” two birds with one stone. (I’m sorry I had to do it). Businesses can save money by turning off or dimming the lights and as a bonus more migratory birds will be saved. I am excited to learn more about our approach as a class to spread the word about the Lights Out Indy initiative, and am excited to see how great of an impact we can make!