Laura Bush is asking fellow Texans to turn out the lights in order to protect flocks of migrating birds.
The former first lady posted on Instagram on Monday asking those in the state to “darken the night sky” by turning off all non-essential lights.
On her Instagram page, she posted a link to BirdCast.info, a site created by Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology which forecasts bird migration patterns using weather, radar and community science data.
Mrs Bush wrote: "Tonight, 594 million birds will take flight across the U.S. as part of the fall migration, and 1 out of every 5 will fly over Texas. Darker skies can prevent these birds from colliding with buildings and other structures.
“Join me in helping to keep migrating birds safe on their journey home by turning off your non-essential lights. To learn more about the birds migrating in your area, please visit birdcast.info (link in profile). #lightsouttexas #darkskies #bringbirdsback”
BirdCast posted a migration alert on Monday saying that the next few nights will likely be one of the largest series of bird migrations in the US this year.
The scientists also advised turning off lights in highly urbanized areas, especially cities in the central and southern US.
Bird populations are rapidly declining in the US with one out of every four birds lost since 1970.
An estimated one billion birds die each year in the US due to collisions with buildings and structures, and migrating birds are particularly at risk. Light pollution in cities can attract them and cause them to become disorientated.
In an interview for the Bush Institute last year, Mrs Bush explained that she had developed an interest in nature as a child, and was particularly drawn to birdwatching because of her mother.
“My mother really was the one who inspired me to be a conservationist. She was my Girl Scout leader when we got our bird badge,” she said.
“She became a very knowledgeable, self-taught birdwatcher and joined the MidNats, the Midland Naturalists, who were all birdwatchers and conservationists.”
In 2011, Mrs Bush founded the organization, Texan by Nature, to protect her home state’s natural resources.