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Lights Out Indy is an initiative of ABAS.   Working with partners, such as the City of Indianapolis and building managers, our mission is preventing bird deaths and saving energy by promoting bird-safe buildings and reducing nighttime lighting.

Why is This Important?

More than 100 million bird deaths from building strikes occur in North America annually, and as many as 1,000 bird deaths per major structure, reports Massachusetts Audubon.

Birds migrate at night every year by navigation of the moon and stars. These birds become disoriented when flying over brightly-lit buildings in city areas. Confused by the lights, the birds fly into the city, and the urban environment becomes a deadly trap. The birds strike buildings as they arrive. In the morning birds take flight and collide with buildings that have clear or reflective glass. These collisions can kill or injure the bird.

Dead Catbird
Injured Nashville Warbler

How You Can Help?

Take the actions listed below, especially during the critical migration months of April, May,  September, and October. Reducing lighting from midnight to dawn will have the biggest impact.

Building Owners and Managers

  • Extinguish decorative exterior lighting and atrium lighting
  • If practical, ask cleaning crews to light and clean one floor at a time starting on the upper floors
  • Use timers and motion-sensing controls to reduce lighting needs
  • Encourage tenants to extinguish office lighting at the end of the day and to draw blinds


  • Know how to use and control lighting in your area or on your floor
  • Turn off lights and draw the blinds when you leave work
  • Use task lighting when working late
  • Encourage your building manager to participate in Lights Out Indy to save energy, money, and birds


  • Volunteer to monitor your downtown building or block for downed birds during migration
  • Become a bird rescue volunteer and transport injured birds to a licensed bird rehabilitator
  • Support bird-friendly legislation with your state and local representatives
  • If you find an injured bird, phone Liz Hatton at For the Birds of Indiana, (317) 877-1187
  • If you find a dead or injured bird, use the iNaturalist app to add the incident to our data (see FAQ for details)

Articles & Scientific Research

Bird-Friendly Building Design

There are a number of principals you can follow to make your home or business safer for birds.

  • Install bird-safe glass products that reduce transparency and reflectivity
  • Provide each window with exterior screens, netting, or shutters
  • Apply films, bird tape, or decals using the appropriate spacing
  • Print ceramic patterns onto glass which also adds to aesthetics
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Reduce brightness
  • Be cognizant of where vegetation is placed around buildings


Legislation can be an important aspect of helping birds that find themselves in the urban environment. Bird-safe building design can be enacted into law and will make a difference for birds. Model legislation is in the American Bird Conservancy document on bird-safe building design. Go to page 32 to see the model legislation.


  • Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act of 2019 applies to new construction and renovations


    Key provisions:

      • Use of plain glass is reduced to a maximum of 10% of a building’s façade up to 40 feet. Above 40 feet, plain glass can only comprise a maximum of 40 percent of the building’s façade.
      • Applies to glass adjacent to atria or courtyards containing water features, plants, and other materials attractive to birds.
      • No transparent passageways or corners.
      • Outside lighting shall be appropriately shielded and minimized.
  • Legislation from New York City enacted January 2020


    Key provisions:

      • Surfaces on the lowest 75 feet of buildings require avian-friendly materials such as patterned glass.
      • No bird hazard installations such as glass handrails and guards, glass windbreak panels, or glass acoustic barriers.
      • No fly-through conditions.
  • Legislation from Oakland, CA enacted June 2013


    Key provisions:

      • Avoid the use of mirrors in landscape design.
      • Apply bird-friendly glazing to at least 90 percent of windows and glass between the ground and 60 feet above ground. Some positive glazing options include opaque glass, clear glass etched with patterns, and UV-pattern reflective glass (since unlike humans, most birds can see ultraviolet light).
      • Turn out nighttime architectural lights and avoid beam lighting during spring and fall migration seasons.
      • Install timers or motion sensors on interior lights, so they can be programmed to turn off between 11:00 pm and sunrise.
      • Include bird safety in building management plans. For instance, building managers could ask employees to draw blinds at night during migration season and could schedule nightly maintenance before 11:00 pm to keep buildings dark at night.
      • Minimize roof antennas and other rooftop structures that create additional collision risks.
  • Legislation from San Francisco, CA enacted November 2011


    Key provisions:

      • Netting in front of clear glass or breaking up the glass surface visually with fritting (ceramic lines or dots) which lets occupants see outside.
      • Minimal lighting, shielded lighting, no uplighting, and, no event searchlights.
      • Wind energy sites must not feature horizontal access windmills or vertical access wind generators that do not appear solid.

Other Lights Out Programs

The first known Light Out program started in Toronto in 1993. In 1999, Chicago started a Lights Out program. For more information on these and other cities Light Out  Programs, visit the National Audubon site HERE.

For question or more information contact Austin Broadwater at


If you have questions about an injured bird please go to our Injured & Orphaned Animals Page HERE