As migrating birds make their way across Texas, former First Lady Laura Bush and her conservation nonprofit are asking people to turn off their lights to help save the winged travelers from deadly crashes.
One out of every three birds — or about one billion — that migrates in the U.S. during the spring passes through Texas, according to the nonprofit Texan By Nature, which Bush founded.
But migratory birds travel at night, and the bright lights of buildings can distract and disorient them, which leads many to crash into buildings.
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Bird migration season lasts from March 1 through June 15, with a peak season between April 19 and May 7, the group said.
During that peak window Bush and the nonprofit are asking residents and businesses to participate in the Lights Out Texas initiative by turning off non-essential lights.
Since 1970, about one out of four birds have died while migrating and one billion birds die annually from crashing into buildings or other structures, according to the nonprofit.
"I know that you and all Texans care deeply about protecting wildlife and the ecosystems that will sustain us for generations to come," Bush said in a letter. "My vision is of a dark Texas sky, ensuring a safe flight for birds on their journey home."