ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced a new effort to reduce light pollution in order to help birds safely migrate.

The DEC announced on May 20 that buildings owned or managed by New York State will be shutting off any non-essential outdoor lighting each night as part of the “Lights Out” initiative. The initiative will run during spring migration through May 31, as well as fall migration, from August 15 to November 15.

The DEC explained that shorebirds and songbirds use stars to navigate while migrating. “Fatal light attraction” is what happens when birds become disoriented by “excessive outdoor lighting”, especially during bad weather. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said anywhere between 500 million to 1 billion birds die each year from hitting windows, walls, floodlights, or the ground.

State-owned buildings are directed to turn off non-essential outdoor lights each night from 11:00 p.m. to dawn. They’re also encouraged to draw their blinds when possible.