St. Louis Arch goes dark to help migratory birds
ST. LOUIS – Wednesday afternoon Tom Noonan and his lizard named Gazpacho stop on their way east to Ohio through St. Louis.
“He’s on some kind of forced migration journey,” says Tom Noonen of traveling with a lizard. “We flew him out last time and he didn’t like the experience. So I drove and thought I can ride the bearded kite but the three cats fly in. “
As the Noonens move into their new neighborhood, songbirds are just passing through ours.
“It’s high season for migration,” says Erin Hilligoss, director of Education Gateway Arch National Park. “The birds fly along the Mississippi flight path and use the river as a kind of road map. You will find places to stop, eat and rest. So they fly right past our great monument, Gateway Arch National Park. So we will be turning off our lights during the first two weeks of May to prevent them from becoming disoriented by this upward lighting. “
We told you for the first time that the Gateway Arch went dark in September 2018 to save birds traveling through our exhibition city.
Since then, it has become a tradition for birds to travel the Mississippi flight path and the Gateway Arch to go dark in the fall and spring to aid conservation efforts.
“You just get a little disoriented by the upward lighting pointing up at the sky,” says Hilligoss. “So the lighting confuses them and can cause birds to crash into our buildings. That is why we want to make sure that they are exposed to as few risks as possible on their dangerous journey. “
Millions of songbirds migrate north from South and Central America, according to the National Park Service and the Audubon Society.
The migratory birds stop and look for food. You will be assisted by the dark memorial as you cruise the windy Mississippi Canal towards Canada.
Gazpacho, the bearded dragon, well, he’s going to be moving east in a car to his new home in Columbus.