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INDIANAPOLIS – We’re approaching the time of year when birds begin to fly south for the winter. However, there is growing concern that birds may not be able to get there these days.

Birds usually fly south at night time since it is easier to see the stars which they use to navigate. But, studies show that light pollution from big cities like Indianapolis is making it difficult for birds to navigate their way south.

“When they fly over a big city at night, like Indianapolis, Chicago, New York, they come across this big orb of light the dims out the stars that acts as navigational beacons,” said Austin Broadwater, an environmental scientist who leads Amos Butler Audubon Society’s Lights Out Indy program.

The problem is resulting in the deaths of thousands of songbirds every year, according to Broadwater.

The initiative he’s leading is looking for ways to work with city leaders, businesses, and residents in downtown Indy to shut off lights at night in order to cut down on light pollution.

“We’ve got the Indianapolis Zoo, the Indianapolis Public Library, the Salesforce building,” he said.

Broadwater is hoping for more and even to branch out into surrounding communities like Carmel, Fort Wayne, and other larger urban areas.