Appeals to Business Owners
Each year 100,000,000 (one hundred million) to 1,000,000,000 (one billion) birds die during night migrations. Many small birds, such as warblers, wrens, vireos, thrushes and tanagers migrate at night on their way, either to their summer breeding grounds or to their wintering grounds. They face many hazards in both directions, and tall lighted buildings have been shown to be one of the most dangerous.
It is thought that the lights on tall buildings confuse the navigation systems of birds unlucky to have such buildings in their flight path. They circle the buildings repeatedly and either die of exhaustion or by colliding with the illuminated building. According to scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago, this mortality could be reduced by 80% if those lights were off.
The Detroit Audubon Society is going to request building organizations, government agencies and property owners to reduce the carnage by turning off lights in tall buildings from 11:00pm to dawn from the second weekend in March through May, and from the second weekend in August through October.
By turning out these lights, not only will the birds be spared, but also money and energy will be saved, and pollution will be reduced. It will be a win-win situation for building owners/operators and for the birds that will be able to continue their long migration flights with one major hazard removed.
SAFE PASSAGE WELCOMES
Over the last few years, General Motors joined the Safe Passage Great Lakes program. We would like to recognize them on the Honor Roll at this time. The lights in the GM world headquarters in the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit are turned off at night to help reduce the significant and dramatic continent-wide death toll of night-migrating birds that crash into tall lighted buildings. GM has also asked other tenants of the Renaissance Center to turn out their lights or at least to close their blinds at night.
That’s not all. Since 1991, GM personnel have been guided by a list of “General Motors Environmental Principles” directing the corporation to use sound environmental practices in their business decisions. These principles commit GM personnel to actions that “restore and preserve the environment” through reducing waste, conserving resources and recycling materials. They further pledge to “continuously assess the impact of our plants and products on the environment and communities in which we live….”
DAS representatives recently met with Susan Kelsey, Environmental Group Manager of the GM Environmental Compliance Group in Southeast Michigan. At that meeting, Ms. Kelsey stated how pleased GM was to be on the SPGL Honor Roll. She explained how GM puts forth a strong effort to make the grounds of their properties friendly to wildlife and the environment. Also, she is working to get a Safe Passage type of bird-friendly understanding spread throughout the global GM community. What good news that is!
DAS is very pleased to know that General Motors is determined to be environmentally responsible and we welcome the corporation to our Safe Passage family.