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Reducing light-induced mortality of seabirds: High pressure sodium lights decrease the fatal attraction of shearwaters

The use of artificial light at night and its ecological consequences are increasing around the world. Light pollution can lead to massive mortality episodes for nocturnally active petrels, one of the most threatened avian groups. Some fledglings can be attracted or disoriented by artificial light on their first flights. Studies testing the effect of artificial light characteristics on attractiveness to seabirds have not provided conclusive results and there is some urgency as some endangered petrel species experience high light-induced mortality. A field experiment to test the effect of three common outdoor lighting systems with different light spectra (high pressure sodium, metal halide and light emitting diode) on the number and the body condition of grounded fledglings of the short-tailed shearwater was designed. A total of 235 birds was grounded during 99 experimental hours (33 h for each treatment). 47% of birds was grounded when metal halide lights were on, while light emitting diode and high pressure sodium lights showed lower percentages of attraction (29% and 24%). No differences in body condition were detected among the birds grounded by the different lighting systems. The adoption of high pressure sodium lights (or with similar spectra) into petrel-friendly lighting designs together with other light mitigation measures such as light attenuation, lateral shielding to reduce spill and appropriate orientation are recommended. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Rodríguez et al (2017) Reducing light-induced mortality of seabirds: High pressure sodium lights decrease the fatal attraction of shearwaters. J Nature Conservation Doi 10.1016/j.jnc.2017.07.001


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1617138117300390
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Content with tag fledging .

Light pollution and seabird fledglings

One of the most critical phases in the life of petrels is at fledging when young birds pass from parental dependence on land to an independent life at sea. To mitigate mortality at this time,...