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New York State to Turn The Lights Off For Migrating Birds

On their arduous flights North to their breeding grounds, birds migrating up the U.S. East Coast will have one less peril to worry about - bright lights from state-owned and -managed buildings in New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday said that state buildings will turn off non-essential outdoor lighting from 11 p.m. until dawn during peak migration in the spring and fall.

The state is along the Atlantic Flyway, one of four major routes for birds coming North in the spring from their warmer winter hideouts. To get here, many migrating species - including colorful warblers and other song birds - fly at night and navigate by the stars, using constellations to guide them.

But outdoor nighttime lights, especially in bad weather, can disorient the birds and cause them to crash into windows, walls, floodlights or the ground.

The phenomenon, called "fatal light attraction," has killed an estimated 500 million to one billion birds annually in the United States, the governor's office said, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

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-- Reuters