PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The University of Pittsburgh has agreed to make some changes to its blue victory lights at the Cathedral of Learning to keep birds safe.
The university shines the blue lights into the sky after a Panthers’ football or national championship win.
The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania says local birdwatcher Kate St. John compared the lights to the Tribute in Light at New York City’s 9/11 memorial and brought the potential problem for birds to the society’s attention.
Researchers in New York City found that thousands of birds would get caught in the vertical light beams and some ended up dying, but they found that once the lights were turned off, the birds would be freed and fly away from the lights again.
The Audubon Society reached out to Pitt with their concerns about the possibility of the victory lights trapping migrating birds.
Pitt agreed to cycle the victory lights — leaving them on for 45 minutes, then turning them off for 15 minutes. The school and the Audubon Society consulted the New York City Audubon, which assisted in managing the Tribute in Light, on the schedule.
The Audubon Society thanks St. John and local bird lovers for bringing the matter to their attention, along with the university for working to find a win-win solution.