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April 3, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Light in the wings

Birds carrying turle. John Batten, ill. 1892 "Indian Fairy Tales"(USPD: pub.date, artist life, Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Dodge that race cam, guys” (Batten,1892/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Always wondered about the outcome of that Tortoise and the Hare story?

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” (Henry David Thoreau)

When you’re in the dark about things, it’s hard.

  • About 100 million to 1 billion migratory birds smash into structures and die each year in North America.
  • Migrating birds navigate by the stars at night, and confusion from bright windows or commercial lighting can cause birds to alter flight paths, mill around in lighted areas where they collide with each other, communication towers, radio antennas or buildings. It’s worse during weather with low ceilings or fog.
  • A study by Chicago’s Field Museum showed that even tuning off the lights in one building can reduce the migrating bird kill by an average of 83%
Woman dressed in corn husk camo in field. John Batten, English Fairy tales, 1895 (USPD. pub,date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Gee, when the college career advisor asked if I would be interested in environment protection field work, I didn’t think it meant being dressed in corn husk camo and picking bugs off plants. And the rabbits keep nibbling my outfit. Wish they would stop calling me birdbrain.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

We light up our lives. 

And make three large cities in the central U.S. the most dangerous locations for migrating birds.

Feeders and bird baths are fine, but flocks really need more:

Take the pledge:  Lights Out for Birds.  (Peak migration on the Gulf Coast tends to be around April 19 – May 7.) Sign up for migratory bird notifications at that link or here for National Lights Out for Birds programs.

Woman calling swans with bell (1894.More Celtic Fairy Tales, Jacobs/Batten ill. (USPD pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Hey feathered ones. Could you please trumpet that the coast is clear and dark? The bell tolls for we.”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

It’s a real easy-peasy New Green Deal: Win-win-win.

Turning off lights reduces electricity usage. When consumer demand falls, there’s less consumption of natural resources and environmental destruction for generation of electricity.

It protects migrating birds which are better insect control than pesticides for crops and may reduce spraying for disease carrying mosquitoes.

In addition, there’s a human health concern that artificial light disrupts bio-rhythms, hormones, and melatonin production/utilization.

Woman looking up. (1916. play promo. Eternal Magdalene/Sarony/USPD.pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Why is it so hard, people? Oy vey. Do the easy things first – ones that don’t cost or disrupt. Turn off some darn lights. Although overly lit is a situation that may actually resolve itself. Seen the cost of the mandated “new” lightbulbs? Most of us will soon be sitting in the dark because only the few elites will be able to afford illumination…although most of those already think they are the only ones that have that now.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Why is such a simple, environmentally friendly idea being overlooked?

Bright lights. Big City. Dim witted

Belong to the night – it’ll be fun. Call it retro.

De-lighted to be left in the dark

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” (Robert Lynd, Irish writer)

Birds carrying turtle on a stick. Batten, Fairy Tales of India, 1892 (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Birds of a feather. “What? MY relative? I thought he was YOUR funny looking relative!” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

14 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. easyweimaraner / Apr 3 2019 6:37 am

    it would be so simple… but why we still have broad (artifical) day light even at 2 am?

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 3 2019 7:18 am

      People used to say all the lights were necessary because of crime and robberies, but now most of the crime around here is done in broad daylight. Motion detector lighting and carefully selected and aimed lights are fine for security, but all the lit up tall buildings at night – stupid and wasteful.
      Thanks for joining the howl for simple moonlight

      Like

  2. shoreacres / Apr 3 2019 7:09 am

    Remember that wonderful old song, “When the Deep Purple Falls”? It can’t do that any more — at least in urban areas. There’s just too much light. The garden walls can’t get sleepy any more, and the night’s never still. No wonder we love the country!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 3 2019 7:35 am

      Maybe so many are mentally fragile these days because they’ve never been in deep darkness – never had the chance to learn “it’s going to be all right, don’t worry” or “it’s all in your imagination”. Deprived of the chance to face your fears. We’ve become light addicts – and it’s not a good thing at all.
      Thanks for that fabulous tune link. Richness there.

      Like

  3. Ally Bean / Apr 3 2019 8:47 am

    A simple solution, but will people do it? Time will tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 3 2019 9:07 am

      Probably too much trouble.
      If an elected Congress person who rails about climate change and the environment cannot be bothered or remember to take reusable bags when buying groceries (and complains she gets 10-15 plastic bags), it’s mostly all talk for image rather than desire to actually do something…
      In 2015 there was actually a bipartisan bill introduced focusing on excessive commercial light – but I think it never got out of committee. During oil shortages/past energy crisis with high prices, people and companies did turn off building lights for a bit.
      But will people these days turn off lights and do simple solutions to help the environment/climate change…probably not – looking long term and using simple methods not a trend these days.
      Thanks for lighting up the comment section

      Liked by 1 person

  4. RKLikesReeses / Apr 3 2019 12:58 pm

    Oh, birds! Didn’t realize. So very sad. 😦 Almost makes me long for the oil embargo/gas crisis days when businesses stopped using lights at night except when needed for shift work, people were careful about turning lights off, and ornamental displays with lights were shut down. I never use more than one light at a time in this house. If the cats can walk around without them I can, too. And I do. Oh! I just saw your reply above. You mentioned the oil shortages days. Great minds… 🙂 Well, here’s hoping that people shape up & turn off those lights.

    Like

  5. sustainabilitea / Apr 3 2019 7:31 pm

    I had no idea that many birds were killed each year. That seems really high!

    janet

    Like

  6. The Hook / Apr 4 2019 4:50 am

    We’ve seen a lot of evidence of this in Niagara lately.
    Mankind is the worst thing to happen to the animal kingdom.
    Ever.

    Like

  7. colonialist / Apr 4 2019 10:08 am

    Amazing that dimming is a bright idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Littlesundog / Apr 7 2019 6:00 am

    My mother-in-law had her vegetable garden out near the street lights for many years. That area never did well for her – I just thought she was a terrible gardener! Then a few years ago she asked that we till a new garden for her further back on the property, away from the street. I hadn’t thought much about it until now, but I do recall her having much better production. We simply thought it was about a better soil perhaps, but now I’m wondering if the constant lighting had anything to do with her poor crop.

    Also, my mother-in-law had an attack on her chickens by raccoons last fall. She lost half of her flock. I was upset when she started keeping the barn lit up all night to ward off the coons (she believed that they were nocturnal only and that the constant light would keep them away). I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of – how could she not consider this messing up the circadian rhythm of the chickens? To her dismay, the chicken’s egg production went from 10 to 13 eggs a day, to 2 or 3. For five months this went on, until my mother-in-law passed away recently. As soon as I stepped up as the new chicken boss 😀 I stopped this cruel “lights on all night” treatment, and after just a few days, production went up to 9 or 10 eggs a day. The flock seems much more active and we’re enjoying selling eggs again!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 7 2019 7:34 am

      It’s no secret that various lights/types of lights affects living things. Office lights ( which are also in schools) are the worst – can cause depression among other things. We all need natural light – and a certain amount of exposure to sunlight each day to function properly and best (Maria Montessori knew). Yet the facts are simply ignored – inconvenient, I guess.
      What a chicken story! Sure the flock is much happier now.(Factory farms production…shiver)
      Thanks for lighting ups the comment section

      Like

  9. Beth / Apr 10 2019 6:12 pm

    Sometimes clicking a “Like” on a post just isn’t enough. There should be an “Amen” button. Turning off the lights – so good for all of us, and all of them. If we could lower them enough, maybe we could see the sky again, too instead of having to drive out to remote places to remember where we are again.

    Like

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