Turn off lights, save the birds

Each spring, billions of migratory birds including thrushes, warblers, and cranes, fly north to summer breeding grounds and are killed by the lights and glass reflections of the buildings they encounter along the way.

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Lights illuminate the downtown Chicago skyline in 2016,

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

While so many of us are hunkered down waiting out the coronavirus, we have an extraordinary opportunity to do something to help the world together: turn out the lights. Each spring billions of migratory birds including thrushes, warblers, and cranes, fly north to summer breeding grounds and are killed by the lights and glass reflections of the buildings they encounter along the way. Audubon estimates the number at a tragic one billion birds a year.

In 2020 there is no excuse the leave the lights on in our looming office towers. They are empty and should be shuttered and dark. That would save a lot of money, too.

If we turn off the lights and provide an avenue for an almost-natural migration, we can help save the lives of billions of birds across the planet and ourselves as well. The climate crisis may be in the back seat for now but it is still there and looming large.

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Like so many contradictions of this invisible disease, staying home means more time with family, more home-cooked meals, and pulling out dusty games and puzzles. It can also be good for the planet. So I ask while we are all home protecting ourselves and each other, let’s consider the billions of birds as well. Let’s make America dark again.

Margaret Frisbie, executive director, Friends of the Chicago River

Real leadership

A rich businessman with no experience in governing. It was a disaster with former Gov. Bruce Rauner and is a horrific national disaster with President Donald Trump. But Gov. J.B. Pritzker has proved that it can be done. He has listened to experts and shown real leadership. I am glad that he is in charge of Illinois during this time of crisis. 

Sandy Orr Gurnee

New York tried that

In a Sunday column, Mary Mitchell asked, “If leaders can curb our rights to fight a virus, why not fight gun violence?” Isn’t this what New York City tried with “stop and frisk?”

Ted Staroscik, Darien

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