Former First Lady Laura Bush, via Texan by Nature — Facebook. Photo by Grant Miller

Former first lady of the U.S. Laura Bush wants Texans to help save the migratory birds and take care of Texas.

In an op-ed published March 14 in the Dallas Morning News, the Preston Hollow neighbor asks her fellow Texans to turn off their lights at night. Each year, about 1 billion birds in the U.S. die from colliding with buildings and structures due to urban sprawl, tall buildings, reflective glass windows and bright lights.

Bush, who has been interested in birds since she was a little girl growing up in Midland, was a co-founder of Texan By Nature, a group that works to conserve our state’s land, water and wildlife by investing in conservation led by Texans, amplifying and speeding up innovation and helping partners access resources they need.

In her article, she asks residents to turn off their lights from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. during the peak spring bird migration period, which runs April 19 to May 7. About half of the birds that migrate during the spring fly through Texas during that time.

Bush also wrote a separate piece in which she gives specific guidance about how to protect birds. People should not use lights to illuminate trees or gardens where birds may be resting. Necessary lights, such as security lights, should be aimed down and shielded. Motion detectors can be used to limit when lights are on, and blinds can reduce the amount of light emitted from indoor lights.

She also includes best practices for buildings taller than three stories. For example, buildings should avoid lighting unoccupied floors and scheduling cleaning crews after dark.

“And when the sun sets each night, and you turn off your lights, I encourage you to do as my mother would, and look up. You might just see something magical,” Bush writes.

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