Action: Turn off lights to reduce mortality from artificial lights
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
A before-and-after study from the UK found that fewer seabirds (Manx shearwaters Puffinus puffinus, European storm petrels Hydrobates pelagicus and Leach’s storm petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa) were attracted to artificial lighting and downed when lighting was reduced at night, compared to when normal lighting was in place.
The simplest way to prevent birds from being attracted to and colliding with lights is to turn them off. However this might not be practical for economic, safety or other considerations.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after study on St Kilda, Scotland, between 2005 and 2008 (Miles et al. 2010) found that fewer seabirds were attracted to artificial lighting and downed when lighting was reduced at night, compared to when normal lighting was in place (27 birds found when lighting was reduced for the whole of autumn 2007 and most of 2008 vs. 54 birds downed and two dead when lighting was not reduced in 2005-6 and 24 downed in 20 days when lighting was not reduced in 2008). Downed birds included 59 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus (including all birds downed by reduced lighting), one European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus and 45 Leach’s storm petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa. Lighting consisted of outdoor lights and indoor lights left on overnight with no window coverings.