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Avian Urban Ecology$
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Diego Gil and Henrik Brumm

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661572

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199661572.001.0001

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The impact of artificial light on avian ecology

The impact of artificial light on avian ecology

Chapter:
(p.21) Chapter 2 The impact of artificial light on avian ecology
Source:
Avian Urban Ecology
Author(s):

Kamiel Spoelstra

Marcel E. Visser

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199661572.003.0002

This chapter reviews available information on how artificial light affects birds. The best documented response of birds to artificial light may be attraction during migration at night. Brightly lit spots in dark environments, such as oil rigs at sea, can disrupt orientation in night-migrating diurnal birds, especially when the sky is overcast. This form of disorientation often leads to death due to exhaustion, which ensues from a dramatic increase in flight time, but also directly by collision with the lighted structure. Night light can increase nocturnal activity in birds living in illuminated habitats. Timing of daily activity is also affected — a frequently observed effect of artificial light is that birds start their dawn song earlier in the morning. There are thus clear effects of artificial light on birds. However, the possible fitness consequences or even effects on population numbers of artificial light are still unknown. The chapter also considers possibilities for mitigating the impact of ecological light pollution on birds and outlines experiments needed to further clarify the ecological impact of night light on birds.

Keywords:   birds, artificial light, ecological light pollution, night light

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