Last year Duval Audubon Society, St. Johns County Audubon Society, and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens banded together as Lights Out Northeast Florida to study and ultimately try to reduce the deadly effects of excess nighttime lighting on birds migrating through our area. Routes in various areas of downtown Jacksonville were established, volunteers recruited, and data was collected during the spring migration season. In all, the routes were walked 129 times and 101 birds were found, 70 dead and 31 alive. Most of the birds found alive were able to be released. This was the first time that data relating to birds striking buildings at night had ever been collected in Jacksonville.
Now we are ready to start the process again. We expect fall migration to be worse than spring because of the many first-year birds that will be migrating for the first time. We also have some data that was collected last fall when we were establishing our routes that seemed to indicate that fall is the bigger problem for birds migrating through the Jacksonville area. We’ll start the routes on September 15 and we are looking for volunteers. Volunteers DO NOT need to know what kind of bird they are finding! When you turn in the bird, we can figure that out. All volunteers go in pairs. We will try to pair new volunteers with experienced ones but we may offer a virtual training session as well. All supplies (except a cell phone) are provided. Volunteers commit to one route, one day a week for eight weeks, starting about dawn, and each route takes roughly an hour to an hour and a half to complete. Learn more about the Lights Out Northeast Florida initiative here.
If you are interested in helping us save the lives of migrating birds, please complete our online application, and we'll be in touch soon.
~ Carolyn Antman, Conservation Director for Duval County