Migrating birds in North America
Greater Snow geese migrating over North AmericaReuters

New York state's capitol is about to get a bit dimmer, but for a good reason. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on 27 April that state building will participate in the New York State Lights Out Initiative to reduce light pollution that may disorient night-time migratory birds.

"This is a simple step to help protect these migrating birds that make their home in New York's forests, lakes and rivers," Cuomo said in a statement.

The state, which joins forces with the Audubon Society for the initiative, will turn off non-essential outdoor lighting from 11pm to dawn in state-owned and managed buildings. The Lights Out initiative will take place during peak bird migration, 15 April through 31 May and 15 August to 15 November, the statement said.

According to the Times Union, state landmarks, such as the state Capitol and Corning Tower, will remain illuminated. Lights that are deemed essential for safety or health will also remain illuminated.

Several species of birds, including warblers and thrushes, use constellations to navigate to and from their summer breeding grounds. However, outdoor lighting can disorient nighttime migrating birds in anomaly known as fatal light attraction, the governor's statement said.

N.Y. State
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the Lights Out New York Initiative to reduce light pollution on 27 April. REUTERS

Erin Crotty, executive director of Audubon New York, said: "Audobon commends Governor Cuomo for his leadership in launching these new initiatives to protect migrating birds and showcase the spectacular bird watching opportunities throughout New York."

"Bird migration is one of the incalculable wonders of nature," Crotty continued. "With spring migration underway, the State's commitment to 'Lights Out' is an important step to increase their protection."

Cuomo also launched the I Love New York Birding website on Monday as a resource for New Yorkers interested in learning about bird watching and bird conservation tips.