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Want to help birds flying through Central Texas? Here's how

Michael Barnes
Austin 360

Each spring and fall, nearly 2 billion birds migrate through Texas in one of the planet’s great wildlife spectacles.

Unfortunately, since migratory birds often travel at night, artificial lighting can cause them to be disoriented and collide with buildings and homes. These avoidable collisions are responsible for killing up to 1 billion birds annually.

The good news is that everyone can help. Simply turn off all nonessential indoor and outdoor lighting from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., especially during peak migration, which is through Oct. 29. The full fall migration started in mid-August for fall and goes through Nov. 30. Travis Audubon recommends using shielded lighting that sends light downward if needed outdoors and task lighting indoors.

Migration destinations:Watch birds wing their way across the continent

Least sandpipers spotted at Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory in eastern Travis County.

More information: travisaudubon.org.

What to see some of the migrating birds? I wrote a guide to some of the best bird-watching spots in the area for spring migration, and they're great for fall as well. Most but not all of the same bird species noted in spring will travel through again.

And in the early days of the pandemic shutdown, my colleague Nicole Villalpando wrote a guide to birding in your Central Texas backyard.