National Park Service Shuts Off Gateway Arch Lights To Support Bird Migration

If you’ve been to St. Louis before, you’re likely familiar with the iconic Gateway Arch that lights up the city’s skyline.

Each night, the monument is lit up for people to see, but that’s changing for the month of May.

Photo: Flickr/Tony Nichols License:

In a press release from the National Park Service, Jeremy Sweat, Superintendent, of Gateway Arch National Park, said: “St. Louis sits right beneath the Mississippi Flyway, a major migration highway.”

According to the National Audubon Society, the Mississippi Flyway is used by over 325 bird species to make their round-trip flight from breeding to wintering grounds each year.

Photo: Flickr/Artur Rydzewski License: CC BY 2.0

Jeremy went on to say that while the Gateway Arch previously turned its lights off for dedicated periods to support the bird migration, 2023 is the first year that it’s dedicated the entire month of May to the efforts.

He said, “For over a decade Gateway Arch’s exterior lights have been turned off for two weeks each May and September to help minimize the possible disorienting effect the lights may have on birds that migrate at night. As migration patterns have changed, this year the park will extend the lights off for the entire month of May.”

Photo: Flickr/Bryan Werner License: CC BY 2.0

The press release went on to say that it first started turning the Gateway Arch’s exterior lights off to protect migrating birds in 2002.

This year, the moment went dark for the month of May but it will be lit nightly again beginning on June 1, 2023.

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