Park Service set to turn off Arch lights to aid fall bird migration

ST. LOUIS – It`s not just to consume less energy, it`s a conservation effort.

“Tonight will be the first night of lights out at the Gateway Arch for the fall bird migration,” says Frank Mares, Deputy Superintendent Gateway Arch National Park.

That`s right if you`re in the dark why the Arch isn`t lit up this evening, it`s due to some travelers heading south through St. Louis.

“We installed the lights in 2001 and we`ve been doing it ever since, once in the spring and then again the last two weeks of September,” says Mares.

The National Park Service working with the Audubon society determined it might be best to go dark and turn the lights out.

“Night migration, birds that migrate at night might be particularly vulnerable to large lights that are essentially pointed up,” says Mares.

The hope of the lights out it is so that migratory birds traveling south for the winter like say the songbird won`t smash into the north leg of the arch.

“The Mississippi flyway is not just directly over the water,” says Mares.  “It certainly covers land on either side.  But being on the water`s edge like the arch is, being 630 feet tall and having these lights shining up on it all contributed to us agreeing that we should go dark in the spring or fall.”

But fear not after the feathered friends head south, in about two weeks, October first, they will light up Eero Saarinen`s Arch in the evening.

“If you see the Arch not lit at night think of birds and how important the migration patterns are,” says Mares.